The state budget crisis has once again trickled down to Ardmore.
Despite recent successes in early childhood education and literacy, Cities In Schools, a nonprofit out-of-school program, is now forced to reduce services for the upcoming school year. CIS will now only provide transportation for students at Ardmore City Schools and will no longer accept pre-k students.
“The hardest thing is that every single school as well as the after-school programs need funding,” Mary Lane Porter, CIS executive director, said. “When the other programs need funding they are going to the same foundations we normally go to for funding. Those foundations are now having to prioritize funding because the state is no longer able to pay for that. That leaves us out in the dark when it comes to funds.”
CIS provides students with 30 minutes of homework assistance along with 30 minutes of interactive literacy activities, an afternoon snack and supervised playtime, Porter said.
“In 2016-2017, 94 percent of our K through 5th grade students improved in academic engagement,” Porter said. “Ninety-five percent showed improvement in their literacy rates.”
The program runs throughout the school year, from 3 - 5:30 p.m. beginning Sept. 11, 2017 - May 24, 2018, at a cost to the parent or guardian of $25 a month, per student.
“Since our funds are limited this year, we can’t afford a whole other bus to send out to other schools,” Porter said. “We do accept low-income students from other schools, but they will need to provide their own transportation.”
Last year’s enrollment reached 80 students, the program has space for 115 students.
“Due to the low funds, we can’t afford to pay for the extra hourly employees for the pre-k classes because AmeriCorps doesn’t pay for that,” Porter said. “In order to sustain our organization through tuition alone, students would have to pay $1,700 for each program. That’s why we are constantly looking for additional avenues for funding.”
Alumni enrollment for Cities In Schools begin Monday at 9 a.m. General enrollment begins on July 24. Interested parents or guardians can enroll students, kindergarten through 5th grade at the CIS business offices, 825 Grand Ave. You can also enroll at the program location in the old Charles Evans Elementary building, 611 Maxwell Ave. NW. For questions or enrollment packets, call (580) 223-8762.