National Budget Cuts Could Cause After School Programs to Close Statewide

News

Your child’s after school care program could be on the chopping block.
President Donald Trump’s Budget Blueprint proposes cuts to a nation wide program that provides funding to after school programs.

More than 8,000 students across North Dakota take part in after school programs, through their local schools. For students it’s more than just a place to go after the bell rings.

“A lot of them have told us they don’t feel comfortable walking home alone, so for a lot of them, it means they feel safe. Some place they have that they can be safe, ” Terri Mccune, youth leader for the Extended School Program.

These safe spaces provide kids the opportunity to work on homework
and to build bonds with their teachers.

” I think it sparks their creativity. It really engages them in academics. The beauty about this program is that it’s not solely focused on academics, it’s focused on relationships. So, the teachers that work in the program they really strive to build a relationship with the kids,”
Joe Kolosky, state director of the 21st Century Program.

Kolosky says after school programs help busy working parents juggle it all.

“Parents know that when they are at ESP, and 21st Century Programs,  their children are safe and they can go do their daily work, or go to school, or whatever they can do to provide for their families,” Kolosky says.

Jennette Myhrie Elementary is one of many schools across the state that offers after school programs.Thousands of North Dakota children are served through these programs, and with future budget cuts, the amount of kids served could be cut as well.

Twenty-first Century programs fund 94 after school program sites across North Dakota.
If the budget cut goes through, 10 sites could be shut down entirely, leaving up to 200 children without a place to go.

“If there is a budget decrease, yes, there will be a decrease in students served. Because the money follows the child essentially. And to fund the program, 99 percent of funding goes to staffing, so if there’s no money for staffing there’s no money to provide the services for the kids,” Kolosky says.

With the shortage of childcare options in the state, Kolosky says working parents will have some tough choices to make

“This will directly affect North Dakota and we have to prepare for the worst and hope for the best,” Kolosky says.
 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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