Costa Mesa needs to save ROCKS

Daily Pilot

Could there be a more appropriate acronym than ROCKS, which stands for Recreation on Campus for Kids after School?

We'll answer our own rhetorical question with a resounding "no."

The city of Costa Mesa's program is solid and safe, a worry-free environment for working families who need someone to supervise their youngsters between the time the school bell rings and Mom and Dad get home from work.

ROCKS, which is on the city's chopping block alongside youth sports and recreation programs, should not be rolled away.

Many families, particularly in this economy, find that both parents need to work full-time jobs and that someone responsible needs to watch their children. No good can come of axing the program.

Now we understand that free child care is something of a luxury in this era of brass-tacks spending, but we see eliminating this $295,000 program as one step on a slippery slope, because we all know what can happen when children go unsupervised.

Councilwoman Katrina Foley is arguing to keep the program by charging parents a nominal fee, say $10 a month, hosting fundraisers and eventually finding federal grant money to help float the program.

"The thought of hundreds of kids not being able to have organized activities after school and just be running around in the neighborhood, doesn't make me feel good about the future for our community," she said.

We concur and urge the City Council to work with the community to find a way to save an important program.

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