Board votes to raise $350,000 for after-school care

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BELOIT - The School District of Beloit Board of Education voted unanimously to fund after-school programs for one year at its Tuesday evening meeting.

Executive Director Business, Human Resources, and Operations Jo Ann Armstrong proposed using a Community Service Fund 80 to raise $350,000 worth of after-school programming for children ages 6-14 in the elementary and intermediate schools.

In previous years, Armstrong explained how much of the district's after-school programming was available due to the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) grant program. However, federal funding for the grants has been significantly reduced. Currently Todd, Fruzen and McNeel have CCLC programming. Todd and McNeel grants expire June 30, 2022, while Fruzen expires June 30, 2020.

In 2018-2019, Beloit subsidized after-school programming using Title I funds to cover programming at locations where CCLC funds were not available.

Superintendent Stanley Munro said he would rather use Title 1 funds to directly support students throughout the day in academic achievement as opposed to devoting the funds to after-school programs, and Armstong noted after-school programming has not shown academic achievement increases.

Tuesday's vote to have after-school programming followed the board voting to approve a policy to create a Community Service Fund 80 at its Aug. 27 meeting. The fund allows the district to tax above current revenue limits. Unlike other operational costs, reimbursed to the school district by the state at about 75%, local property taxpayers would foot the entire bill and none of the amount the district spends on Fund 80 activities would be reimbursed.

Because the tax levy will be going down, Armstrong said the new Fund 80 levy would not have any additional tax impact on the overall school levy above what taxpayers already were paying the prior year.

To meet the Fund 80 requirement for community programming, Armstrong said the after-school programming will be open to all children residing within the school district's taxing boundaries regardless of their enrollment status in the School District of Beloit.

Armstrong said the district plans to work with community partners to secure future after-school options for families in subsequent years that will not require an additional tax levy after the 2019-2020 school year. Starting in the 2020-2021 school year, she hopes after-school programs will be provided without school district funding.

The goal for next year would be school facilities available for community partnerships and parent-paid care programs, said Armstrong and Munro.

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