Beginning in September, the local chapter of the Boys & Girls Club will charge students at three Burbank middle schools $60 a month to use its after-school drop-in program.
The fees are being implemented to recover some of the $91,000 in rental and maintenance fees the nonprofit expects to pay Burbank Unified to use 10 district campuses for its various after-school programs.
“We feel that $60 is very affordable for a month,” said Shanna Warren, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and the Greater East Valley, adding that families unable to pay can apply for scholarships.
Warren anticipates that roughly half the families will be able to afford the fee.
“We won’t turn anybody away for an inability to pay,” she added.
At the seven elementary school sites, the programs are already fee-based. Even so, just half of elementary school students pay the $120 monthly fee, while the rest qualify for scholarships.
The middle school programs, however, have historically been free, though they cost the nonprofit about $82,000 to operate, Warren said. That amount pays for the dozen employees working three sites — Luther Burbank, John Muir and David Starr Jordan middle schools — from 3 to 6 p.m. on school days.
The middle school drop-in program didn’t always fall under the nonprofit’s umbrella.
It was run by the city up until three years ago when it was axed due to budget constraints. That’s when the Boys & Girls Club stepped in to operate the program, which serves roughly 315 students between the three schools.
Burbank Unified for years offered its facilities to the nonprofit at no cost, but this year, after grappling with a $5.5-million structural deficit, officials proposed charging the club rental and maintenance fees. The nonprofit, though, won’t be able to absorb the cost without charging for the service.
“We understand the situation [the district’s] in, and they understand the situation we’re in —it’s hard for all of us. This is the best agreement we could come up with,” Warren said. “We hope it won’t impact our families, but we’re going to do our best for those who can’t afford [to pay.]”
Burbank Unified school board members are slated to vote on the proposal next month, said district Supt. Jan Britz.
“We’re working together very well as partners,” she said of talks between the district and the Boys & Girls Club. “We’re really making headway as far as our agreement for this year and for the future."