Burbank to continue after school programs despite financial hit

The city will continue to operate after-school programs at various Burbank Unified sites when the academic year begins anew in August despite losing roughly $200,000 on the program each year.

The decision to maintain the status quo came this week during budget discussions at City Hall, and with the caveat that city and school officials would discuss ways to cut down on costs for the service for about 600 children each year.

The City Council on Tuesday voted in favor of maintaining the after-school programs rather than contracting out to Burbank Unified, the Boys & Girls Club or the YMCA, the three other after-school providers in Burbank.

The programs at McKinley and Providencia elementary schools were once funded by federal Community Development Block Grants, but the city has been picking up the $102,000 annual tab in recent years out of its general fund, according to Parks, Recreation and Community Services Assistant Director Marisa Garcia.

Meanwhile, the city also offers after-school care to children from seven Burbank elementary schools at six different recreation centers or schools, charging a monthly fee of $120.

But the city only generates about $355,000 of the roughly $455,000 it costs to host those programs.

Together, the total drain on the city budget adds up to roughly $200,000 at a time when the city is still feeling the economic pinch of the lingering recession.

“Over the years, as the costs have gone up and the city has maintained low costs for our community, we’re now in the position we are today where we are not recovering all of our operational costs,” Garcia said.

Councilman Bob Frutos Tuesday suggested withholding any vote on the issue until the City Council and school board hold a joint meeting to discuss options for collaborating.

Councilman David Gordon agreed.

“I think holding a joint meeting prior to making a decision on this will really bring everything out in the open to the table,” he said.

But with the new school year looming in August, Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy pressed her colleagues to cast a vote.

That approach won out in the end, with the City Council agreeing to continue the program for one more year as school and city officials discuss other options.


Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan

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