Editor's note: The McDuffie Educational and Enrichment Programs for Students (MEEPS) is no longer available. The new after-school program described below has a fee of $20 per week per student. Call (706) 986-4471 or (706) 986-4470 for details, or visit mcduffiemirror.com. The statement below was issued Monday by Jim LeBrun, superintendent of McDuffie County schools.
Every McDuffie County elementary and middle school will offer a fee-based after-school program for the 2011-12 academic year.
This is similar to how the after-school program was operated in the past, before grant funding.
That grant funding for the MEEPS after-school program has been reduced by outside sources by over 50 percent since the program was first funded over a decade ago. The program needed to be able to stand on its own with funding from grants and/or parent fees combined. Unfortunately, it is no longer able to do so.
The requirements of the grants no longer allow the system to charge parent fees in conjunction with receiving the grant funds. Unfortunately, during the economic hardship our country and state have experienced in recent years, many grants have been reduced or simply eliminated.
However, we do recognize the need within our community for a viable after-school program. There remain several options for parents and students. In addition to private day-care facilities, the local Y130 Club and the local Boys & Girls Club, the McDuffie County Schools are offering one of the most affordable programs available.
Schools are planning some fundraisers that might be able to provide scholarship opportunities to some children on an as-needed basis. Schools also will be soliciting donations from businesses and the community. The after-school program will be site-based and managed at the school level, thus eliminating district level personnel expenses.
We also hope that local churches and civic clubs will be willing to assist financially.
If an individual or group would like to make a donation to the after-school program, we simply request that the donation be made directly to the donor's school of choice for the expressed purpose of supporting the after- school program account or the after-school scholarship fund. If a donor wishes to make a direct donation to a family, they may certainly do so. However, in that event, the school has no way of verifying that the donation will be used for the after-school expenses. In this situation, the school would also not be able to validate the actual degree of need for the family.
It should also be noted that the after-school programs will be under the supervision of each building's principal and the principals will also be responsible for the hiring of all staff for their program.