Polk County approves afterschool program at recreation department

Published 3:44 pm Thursday, August 20, 2009

The recreation department says it can handle between 50 and 55 students after school with staff members from the summer program willing to stay on throughout the year. The recreation department would fund the program with fees from parents, who will pay $35 at the beginning of each week.

Other programs are beginning to arise to help parents this school year. Harmon Field is also beginning an afterschool program in Tryon from 3 to 6 p.m. Harmon Field&squo;s fees will be $40 per week or $10 per day with discounts available for multiple children.

The school&squo;s regular afterschool program ended this year after grant funding ran out and the state was unable to provide the same amount of funding this year.

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Polk Schools Supt. Bill Miller told commissioners the school system can apply for another grant in October, but with school beginning next week many families will be put in a difficult situation. Miller said with state funding cuts this year, a lot of people in the community are going to have to step up to take care of Polk County students.

The recreation program will be able to accept students from buses that run by Stearns Gym in Columbus. Miller said school bus rules are stringent and a bus cannot go off its route to drop off students. That will mean that the schools of Sunny View and Saluda and possibly Polk Central may have difficulties getting students to afterschool programs. Miller said some churches are also considering afterschool programs to help students in some areas.