PORT CHESTER, N.Y. -- Port Chester schools may implement a fee-based after- school program because it lost out on $1.4 million in state grant money.
The district was not awarded the 21st Century Community Learning Center grant from the state Department of Education that it has received in the past to fund after school programs, according to Assistant Superintendent Frank Fanelli. Fanelli said that the state had allocated $82 million to be given out to schools, but was forced to reduce that to $78 million due to cuts from the federal government sequester. Of that money, 55 percent went to New York City schools, with the rest being divided among failing schools throughout the state, community-based organizations, and other schools.
"It's devastating for us in many ways," Fanelli said. Kids in Port Chester might not have the resources as some of the wealthier towns in the area, and many have come to rely on the after school programs to help them keep up academically.
"What's happening here, and I don't even want to think about it, is that our kids will lose some ground because of the lack of funding not allowing us to give that support."
The district is working to come up with an alternative to offer when the school year starts in September, but Fanelli said that the schools will probably have to charge parents, and the programs will likely be a reduced version of the current after school programs. He and other district officials are talking to organizations in the community to help provide after school support to students once the school year starts up. The district will also pursue other grants to help alleviate some of the cost of the fees.
State Sen. George Latimer appeared at the Board of Education meeting last week and said that he and Assemblyman Steve Otis would be going to the state to see if they could restore some of the lost funding.
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