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Itoman slashes its child care program

Date Posted: 2007-03-22

Itoman City School Board says a lack of money is forcing it to cancel a three-year program to provide after school child care for kindergarten age students.

The city says itís finances are in bad shape, and that Itoman canít afford the •3,600,000 it takes to run the program each year. Under provisions of a 2004 agreement, Itoman paid •1,870,000 of the cost the first year, then •950,000 in 2005 as the number of participating students fell.

That number has risen to the full quota of 30, and the city says it canít handle the cost. The •5,000 monthly fee provides care for young students until 6pm. Now, as the program ends, the financial responsibilities will shift to parents and guardians.

Parents are waging a campaign to oppose the cutback, circulation a signatures petition demanding it be reinstated. Thus far, more than 150 signatures have been gathered. Many parents say canceling the after school program will be detrimental to not only the children, but to them.

Many parents have two jobs, and cannot be available to pick up or take care of the children right after school. They say theyíre asking for cooperation and change from both the city and from private kindergartens in the area.

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