The Richmond Register

August 16, 2013

City debates restarting after-school program

By Seth Littrell
Register News Writer

RICHMOND — At Tuesday night’s Richmond City Commission meeting, Commissioner Laura King proposed that the city reinstate the after-school program run by the parks and recreation department.

The program, begun in the 1990s as an example for schools in the county to follow, was shut down in 2011 because income from fees did not cover the program’s cost.

King said she had received comments from some of her constituents asking for the program’s return. The program would be beneficial to residents during tough economic times, King said.

She proposed that funding be taken from the $320,000 in revenue projected to come from a property tax earmarked for the parks and recreation department.

To redirect the funds for an after-school program, the city commission would have to adopt an ordinance amending the budget.

Mayor Jim Barnes said he was against resuming the program because the children attending were too few to justify keeping it open. He added that the $150,000 budgeted for capital improvements in the parks department was unlikely to cover all the work needed on park facilities.

When the original program ended, parents of the children involved were recommended to use the after-school program at the Telford YMCA. While the YMCA’s preschool childcare program has been ended, it after-school program continues. According to Director Dave Wallace, it will be expanded after resources from the preschool program are transferred.

Seth Littrell can be reached at slittrell@richmondregister.com or 624-6623.