Lone Rock School officials are planning to continue after-school programming despite being notified earlier this summer that their application for continued grant funding for the program was not approved.
“It really puts parents in a bind, especially in a place like Lone Rock, where most working parents commute away from the community for their jobs,” said LRS trustee Paula Short. “We knew we had to try to preserve a program this year in hopes that we can successfully reapply for the grant next year or develop a different funding model.”
Montana’s Office of Public Instruction administers the 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant program, which is designed to fund academic enrichment during non-school hours (before/after school and over the summer). At Lone Rock, the program, called Excel, provided after-school activities for between 20-45 students on a daily basis. Activities
included homework help, arts & crafts, field trips and special guest presenters. Lone Rock was one of several programs around the state that were notified they would not continue to receive funding this year.
This year, the program will largely be funded by the participating families. The cost will be $20 per week for the first child in the program, with reduced fees for multiple children.
“We’ve worked very hard to keep costs low for our families and we’re working on grants and donations to be able to provide scholarships for those needing them,” said Superintendent Scott Stiegler.
Lone Rock plans to continue the Excel program with the same schedule: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. and Wednesdays from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. The program will be available on the first day of school and follow the school calendar.
Whether the program will continue for the entire school year depends on the number of participants. “We’re working on grants, fundraising and other possible income to support the program, but if we don’t have the numbers, we won’t be able to sustain it financially,” said Short.
The Board of Trustees has approved the operation of the program for the first quarter to test whether the demand, costs, program income and other finding support can make the program financially sustainable to operate for the entire school year. School officials plan to reapply for grant funding for next year and to continue to explore other funding models.
Anyone wishing to make a donation to help Lone Rock School District maintain the Excel program can contact the school directly at 777-3314.