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      Changes to after school program coming

      Kirksville Public Schools making changes to after school program.

      If your child goes to a Kirksville R-III after school program, you have probably received a survey.

      Superintendent Patrick Williams said the survey is to gather information from parents to understand the impact of a fee structure for those who want child care.

      Williams said the district is looking to change the structure of the after school program. The district is looking at what component in the after school program is child care and what could be considered as extended day.

      He said the state of Missouri will reimburse schools for extended day programs which have a strict and defined academic focus.

      â??The direction we're likely headed is to continue offering after school programs for those students who qualify in needing extended day focused academic types of programs,â?? Williams said. â??Those students will qualify for those programs and will not be charged â?| because we can receive reimbursement from the state. For students who do not need that program and are simply there for after school child care, or for homework help, those students will likely be charged some fee to offset the cost for paying for teachers.â??

      Williams said there is already a system in place to see which students would qualify for the extended day program.

      â??Over the past year through our Future Initiative we have been focusing on academic achievement especially in the area of reading,â?? Williams said.

      â??We have a target for our students to read at grade level by the time they leave second grade, and thatâ??s a very aggressive initiative, and we are structuring our after school programs to reflect that priority which is reading achievement especially. There are multiple assessments in place to determine that, so those students who qualify from that standpoint will be given the opportunity to participate in the focused academic after school program at no charge.â??

      He said currently the district pays $200,000 a year for the after school child care program.

      â??We are working on a fee structure that is both fair to the families, but also helps offset some of the cost to the district,â?? Williams said.

      â??Right now, we spend nearly $200,000 a year just for after school child care programming. Certainly we want to look at a way of offsetting that cost, but also qualify for full state reimbursement, but more importantly to address the priorities we established which is all our students, especially at the elementary levels, performing up to our expectations. So, weâ??re trying to structure the after school program to extend a couple of hours a day, (so) we can take those students and give them some extra academic assistance.â??

      He said the district is eager to see what the parents have to say, but thinks it is necessary for parents to understand that they will likely restructure the after school program.

      â??It will have a focused academic component for those students who we've identified as performing below our expectation,â?? Williams said. â??Those students will not be charged for that opportunity to participate. Parents will need to decide if their child qualifies for the focused academic. â??Do I want child care, or do I want the focused academicâ?? â?| because they will be distinctly different experiences for kids. With the priority of bringing all of our students up to the level of expectations and giving them that extra couple hours of help that they may need.â??