The loss of significant federal funding for Boys & Girls Clubs at Jefferson Elementary School in Cloverdale and Cali Calmecac Language Academy in Windsor has led to dramatic fee hikes for after-school, summer camp and transportation programs.
The $800,000 federal grant loss has also led to the elimination of all before-school programs at both campuses, said Jennifer Weiss, co-CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Sonoma County.
“It’s an unbelievable blow,” Weiss said, adding that for the campuses involved, “it is the worst-case scenario.”
Some parents will be expected to pay $200 a month for the first student and another $180 a month for additional kids. Prior to the funding cut, parents paid only a $10 membership fee and a suggested $40 materials fee.
About 350 kids are served in Boys and Girls Clubs tied to the two campuses, Weiss said. One hundred of these kids will continue to get the subsidized $10 membership fee. Those who can afford it will be charged the $200 fee, while the rest will be asked to apply for scholarships or pay a sliding scale.
Weiss said she expects some parents may decide not to participate in the Boys and Girls Club after-school program. She said that even at $200 a month, the fee is about half the cost of comparable after-school programs.
The federal funds come from the U.S. Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative, the only federal dollars exclusively at after-school programs. The grant is for five years and if very competitive, Weiss said.
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Sonoma County were awarded after-school grants from the federal initiative for its programs at other schools, including Roseland Elementary School and JX Wilson School. The Boys and Girls Club at Healdsburg Elementary School also lost its 21st CCLC funding, but fundraising in that community has allowed the organization to make up for the loss, Weiss said.
The initiative supports centers that provide academic enrichment programs during non-school hours for kids, especially those who attend high-poverty and struggling schools. The program helps meet state and local academic standards, such as reading and math. Literacy programs are also available for families of children who participate in the clubs.
Weiss said her organization was notified last May that the programs would not be receiving the grant funding this year. She appealed the decision but was told in mid-June that the decision was final.
The loss of funds means the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Sonoma County will have to ramp up its fund-raising efforts for the affected schools.
“We’ll try to raise even more money to try and have more subsidized spots,” Weiss said. “Everyone that isn’t with us is an opportunity lost. We need everybody to step forward and help these kids at least this year until we can get those grants again.”
You can reach Staff Writer Martin Espinoza at 521-5213 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @renofish
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