This school year, the after-school care program had a waiting list of almost 100 students.
The Wright City R-II School District and the Boys and Girls Club of St. Charles County are looking towards the second school year the organization will provide after school care to the district.
The Wright City R-II Board of Education approved a memorandum of understanding last April with the Boys and Girls Club for the organization to provide after school care beginning in the 2022-2023 school year. Before the school year even started, the program reached its goal of 50 registered students for the program, Boys and Girls Club of St. Charles County Chief Executive Officer Karen Englert said. They had nearly 100 additional students on the waiting list. They ended with 64 total registered students, with an average daily attendance of 48 students.
Englert said space constraints at West Elementary prevent the organization from expanding who they serve in the district.
“We’re responding to a need and we’re really, really happy about that,” Englert said. “I can’t look at increasing that much though given the space structures of what it is. We’re coming into your school. We’re using your space. And it’s different at our other locations because they’re standalone buildings. The whole building is ours so we can take hundreds of kids. It’s different in a school setting.”
Englert confirmed expanding the students served through the program would require either utilizing another site at East Elementary or a site somewhere else. She believes they maximized the use of West Elementary to their capabilities.
While they reached their 50 student cap early last school year, Director of Programs Rick Daleen stressed they always left the door open for students who needed the services.
“We hit our 50 (student) cap but we always kept the door open for hardship cases,” Daleen said. “So we were in a lot of communication with West and East with families that were in just dire straights. And we’ve done everything we could to bring them in as well.”
The program was available to district families over the 2022-2023 school year for a $25 fee for the entire school year. The cost for next year’s program will be $50 for the school year. Englert said they ran ahead on some of the budget numbers last school year. She stressed they never want cost or transportation to be a barrier for students to utilize the program. Englert also noted the opportunity for members of the community to sponsor students and for the organization to utilize grants.
Englert noted the organization budgeted a $108,000 loss for the first year of the program but cannot sustain that in future years.
“We don’t do it for the money but we still have to run our business,” Englert said.
Englert anticipates signup for the program will begin in July, which is consistent with last year’s timeline.
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