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Port Chester Works To Keep After School Programs After Loss Of Grant

Port Chester school officials are still trying to identify a community partner that could help provide after school programs for Port Chester High School.
Port Chester school officials are still trying to identify a community partner that could help provide after school programs for Port Chester High School. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue

PORT CHESTER, N.Y. -- Port Chester is still working out how it will provide after school programming after losing out on $1.4 million in state grant money . The new programs will likely cost a fee and be run in conjunction with local community organizations.

"The big picture is that we are in a situation now where we're going to have to pull our resources together," said Assistant Superintendent Frank Fanelli. He said that school officials are working with organizations, who have a good relationship with the district and want to continue their partnership. "But we're not going to be able to sustain an elementary school program that costs $900,000, or a middle school program that costs a half-million dollars. You don't replace that kind of money from thin air."

The new programs will likely be a reduced version of what the schools formerly offered, and parents will likely have to pay a fee for after school activities. Fanelli said that when the district had the grant money, it spent about $1,500 per student per year. The new programs could cost parents about $8-10 per day, or about $1,200 per year.

"And that hurts," he said. "I don't want to see any of our parents have to pay for after school when they didn't before."

Because the school district can't collect money directly from parents, it would have to partner with an organization to help run them. Fanelli said that the elementary school programs might be run with the Port Chester Council for the Arts, and the middle school program might be run with SER of Westchester .

"At the high school level, we're in a dilemma," he said. "I'm trying to piece together something with our partners. It's a very difficult task. You can't replace a program that was well over $1 million when the funding disappear."

Schools Superintendent Edward Kliszus said he has met with local clergy, who are willing to team up to help provide programs to students. He has also met with state Assemblyman Steve Otis, state Sen. George Latimer and U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey, and will continue to meet with them about restoring some of the funding to Port Chester. He also encourages parents to reach out to their representatives to let them know that they are concerned and want something done.

"Maybe funding will come along part way through the year," Klizsus said. "Maybe something can be done. Maybe even part of the funding can be restored."

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