Budget cuts limit summer school programs again
School District 51 will not fund a summer extended-learning program for the second consecutive summer.
Rocky Mountain Elementary School will host an enrichment program with grant dollars, and Chatfield, Clifton and Rim Rock elementary schools and Mount Garfield Middle School will use grant dollars or other nondistrict funds to pay for some type of summer learning in June and July. But no general fund money will go toward summer programs.
Only students who need the most academic help will be invited to attend summer programs, according to Lesley Rose, District 51 associate director of elementary schools.
“We don’t have a lot of options with the economy and budget cuts,” Rose said.
The Grand Junction Parks & Recreation Department will offer an arts and recreation program at Bookcliff, East and Orchard Mesa middle schools and at Wingate Elementary School. The department also will host a sports program at Chipeta Elementary School.
The district’s Nutrition Services Department proposed that Chatfield, Chipeta, Clifton and Rocky Mountain elementary schools and Mount Garfield Middle School offer a summer meal program, in which the district is reimbursed for food and service costs through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. More schools could be added to the list, according to Nutrition Services Director Dan Sharp, but presently two fewer schools will offer school meals this summer compared with last summer.
Schools have to meet two criteria to be selected to host a summer meal program. Each host school must host some sort of programming during the summer, and at least half of the school’s population during the regular academic year has to qualify for free or reduced school meals.
Sharp said a lack of programming was the reason no summer meals will be offered at Dos Rios Elementary School for the first time in years, and why Chatfield, not usual host Pear Park Elementary School, will have meals for children in that area.
Chatfield and Chipeta elementary schools and Mount Garfield Middle School will serve lunch each Monday through Thursday, June 11 through July 20. Rocky Mountain and Clifton elementary schools will offer breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday during the same six weeks. All schools will be closed July 4.
Meals are free for all children under age 18, regardless of where they usually attend school and whether they are participating in programming at the school. Adults can eat for $3.25.
Schools serve an average of 100 meals each day during the summer meal program. Sharp said District 51 has until May 4 to finalize which schools will host summer meal programming. Dual Immersion Academy may be added to the list if the district determines that school’s summer program will be large enough to justify meal service, Sharp said.
“The overall intent and purpose of the food program is students at or near poverty range are getting nutrition so they come back ready to learn,” Sharp said.