Mahoosuc Kids loses $30,000 in grant funds
A Department of Education error in allocating statewide grant funding for next year’s after-school programs means a loss of $30,000 for the local Mahoosuc Kids’ Association.
The programs, including MKA, provide academic and cultural enrichment, as well as other activities, to elementary and Telstar students.
“MKA is going to lose approximately $30,000 at the Telstar sites,” said MKA director Julie Hart Wednesday. “This news has been quite frankly quite a shock. We have had grants and funding reductions before, but usually 10 percent, or something we could absorb or easily adjust. This is a 35.5 percent cut.”
This year’s $86,000 will be cut to $57,000 next year.
MKA is in the second year of the five-year federal grant program.
Many kids served
Over this school year the program, which is open to all students, served about 150 pupils at the Crescent Park School, 50 at Woodstock and 337 at Telstar. The summer program serves more than 100.
Hart learned the amount of the grant cut on May 11.
“Our board has not yet made any decisions on what kind of adjustments we will make, but the summer impact is already being felt. We give out a great deal of scholarships to SAD44 kids at the Bryant Pond 4-H Camp, which now has to be adjusted and cut back.
“What is frustrating is that the DOE still expects us to continue “high quality” programming — four weeks of summer programs -112 days a year — five days a week.”
“In the fall, we have had programs at the camp for all the TMS students,” said Hart. “We have already cut out the programs for seventh and eighth grade.
“We will most likely have to raise fees in the fall, or at least be more diligent in collecting them.
“Our board is going to have to do some sort of fundraising campaign to at least offset this huge loss.”
MKA is also adjusting to a loss in funding due to SAD 44 budget cuts. Instead of the $20,000 provided by the district this year, MKA will receive only $5,000 next year.
But Hart said that MKA is in a better position than some neighboring programs, such as in RSU 10 and Fryeburg.
“We have had an established program with a great partnership with the schools,” she said. “We also have a sustainability plan in place.”