Letter to the Editor: Looking at the real needs kids have
I attended a school board meeting on June, 18 to discuss possible funding for the after school program, Pro Care.
As a parent representative I had put in many hours of calling other parents to ask if they would like to speak to the school board, along with time spent researching what I would discuss. I must admit I was very disappointed when a reporter from the Sun Advocate left the board meeting just before the parents began to speak. As a reader of the paper I have noticed this summer that it has had a few articles on leaving children unattended during the day. The articles appear to be pro supervision during the day and I agree. I guess that is why I was surprised that the reporter left just before a discussion that could determine the outcome of leaving many children home alone after school.
I was also very discouraged after the meeting as it appeared to me that the school board had already made up their mind about our program. Not only was I cut off by the person in charge of the meeting but other parents were told that the topic was no longer open for discussion. As a citizen and tax payer I would like the school board to care about my children and others like them. I don't know if anyone on the school board has children in grade school now but maybe they can remember when they did. We were not asking for complete funding by the board, but a fund of $25,000 to keep the program going. Pro Care has a complete budget of how they will fund the rest and begin to make the program as self supporting as it can be. The school board never found this out because they cut me off and because they didn't ask. I had the numbers and I would have gladly given them.
There was one shining star in this group. One member actually sought me out weeks later to ask a few questions and clarify a few things. He was unable to tell me where the board was on the decision but he appeared very interested and concerned and I appreciated it. Perhaps we could find more members like him.
I recently heard that the school board is concerned with the schools being turned into day care centers. They cited that they already supply breakfast and lunch, next they will be expected to provide dinner also. They also mentioned the cost of having to have a school employee on the grounds until everyone leaves for liability reasons. Was there a concern for the past three years of the after school programs or was that just grasping at straws. If the board doesn't want to help with the program then say so and leave it at that.
I must say, we will be one of a few areas that does not have any type of after school program for the children. This is not very progressive thinking on our part and certainly is not very enticing to people looking to move here.