Two Sacramento districts will hire new after-school providers once city subsidy ends
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The free Sacramento after-school program START that Mayor Darrell Steinberg launched 21 years ago will shrink dramatically this fall after two large school districts chose to look for different providers.
Sacramento City Unified and Twin Rivers Unified will rely on other organizations to provide free after-school services at schools that predominantly serve low-income families, according to district officials. Only the Robla School District will continue the city’s START program for 670 students at its five elementary schools under an existing multi-year grant, said Robla Superintendent Ruben Reyes.
This spring, the city asked Sacramento City Unified and Twin Rivers Unified to pay a higher rate for START that would account for the actual costs of the program.
“In the past when it had run over budget, the city … extended the budget, and chose not to do it this time,” Steinberg spokeswoman Kelly Rivas said.
Sacramento City Unified has 61 after-school programs, including 10 that were the focus of this year’s proposal for START, which stands for Students Today Achieving Results for Tomorrow. Providers for those 10 sites are still being chosen, according to the district.
Sara Noguchi, associate superintendent at Twin Rivers, said her district learned that the city needed $123,000 above the available grant funding to operate the program at three school sites. She said that put the city’s proposal out of the running.
Sacramento last week reported that state funding for after-school programs has not increased since 2006. The city also said higher labor costs were a factor.
During the last three years, the city chipped in to ensure the program could operate, the report said.
The change means up to 45 START staff could lose their jobs at sites the city will no longer run, said Sacramento Parks and Recreation Director Chris Conlin.