R.O.C.K.S funding rolls on

Amid all the back and forth sniping between City Council members lately, city leaders and the community found common ground this week when Costa Mesa agreed to continue partial funding for one of its after-school programs.

The City Council on Tuesday agreed to fund 40% of the Recreation on Campus for Kids Afterschool Program, or R.O.C.K.S. The program costs nearly $230,000 annually to run, most of that going to staffing, which requires one adult per 20 children.

R.O.C.K.S. offers students from first to sixth grade a place at their schools to do homework and play until as late as 6 p.m. or when their parents pick them up.

The City Council last year saw a huge public turnout when R.O.C.K.S. was on the prospective budget chopping block as city leaders tried to balance the budget. But through a matching-fund agreement with the parents and the schools, the R.O.C.K.S. was spared.

Now, Costa Mesa will offer the program on a fee basis at $11 per child per week. City officials calculated the fee based on Costa Mesa funding 25% of the program, but this way it assures the program won't go over budget, council members reasoned.

The program will cost $91,595.60 for the city, and the participating schools will cover the remaining $137,393.40.

City officials predicted the costs may go up because they expect more students to participate in the coming years.

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