No 21st Century after school program this year

A missed deadline means there will be no 21st Century afterschool program this coming school year which begins Aug. 1.

At the June 4 Douglas Unified School District board meeting, Superintendent Ana Samaniego said the district missed the deadline to renew the agreement that would have allowed the program to continue.

The schools impacted by not having the program this year will be Joe Carlson, Stevenson, Sarah Marley, Clawson and Paul Huber Middle School.

“The program that we had was in the completion of its sixth (and final) year,” Samaniego said adding the funding the DUSD had received was for six years. Our district was going to reapply. It’s a competitive grant. It’s not a guarantee award. Because of the success of our school district and our location and because of our Title I status it was very probable we would be getting it.”

The deadline of submission for that was May 1 at 5 p.m., she said adding the grant application was submitted four-minutes late, and therefore denied.

“All the work was done as far as the collection of data,” the superintendent said. “There is no appeal process. What this means is next year we are not going to be offering the 21st Century program afterschool which obviously provides an extended learning and enrichment opportunity for our students.”

Had the grant been awarded, Samaniego told the board, the DUSD would have received $618,786.81 for the first year which would have been for the five schools named in the application.

“The way the grant works,” she said. “Year after year the funds diminish. It’s less and less up to the sixth year where you get $200,000 or so.”

The funds pay the salaries for staff that are able to be employed after school, along with other services needed for the program.

“The requirement for the program is that in order for it to get funded for that school they have to maintain for 30 consecutive days a certain amount of kids in attendance,” she said. “It’s like a class. We take roll every day. You have to have evidence of the attendance which is then submitted to our curriculum director. We then upload all that information to the state.”

Samaniego said the district will reapply for the 21st Century grant March 1, 2020 which is the next available date the grant opens up again.

The superintendent stated the DUSD will continue to provide tutoring services and is looking to see what other options may be available in order to provide some kind of after school program.

According to sources, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative is the only federal funding source dedicated exclusively to supporting local after school, before-school and summer learning programs. Each state receives funds based on its share of Title I funding for low-income students.

Preschool Development Grant

Samaniego also informed the board that the PDG (Preschool Development Grant), valued at an estimated $125,000 is not going to be available this year to the school district.

“There are three classrooms out of all the classrooms that we have that are the non-tuition classrooms,” the superintendent said. “What that means is the kids (in those classrooms) attend for free. The other schools, the families, based on need, have a tuition in order to send their kids to school.”

The new tuition fees this year will be $100 per month for half-day sessions and $200 per month for the full-day sessions.

“Preschool is not mandated,” Samaniego added. “It has been a success for our kids here for our kids. It would be unfortunate for us to cut down on the number of preschool classrooms that we have with the much need that we have in Douglas.”

Preschool is offered at Faras, Clawson, Sarah Marley and Joe Carlson elementary schools.

Items required for registration are a birth certificate, immunization record and proof of address.

For more information on the DUSD’s preschool program call Carol Perez at 364-2447, extension 7102.

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