Budget cuts lead to cutting of youth programs

(Illustration by Iris LoCoco | The Collegian)

In March, Gov. Sam Brownback cut $51 million from the Kansas public school system’s budget for the current school year, resulting in cuts of education programs and a shorter school year for several districts.

Even though the budget cuts have left after school programs to fend for themselves financially, groups such as the Boys and Girls Club of Manhattan have evolved to accommodate the lack of financial support, according to Andrea Tiede, principal of Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School.

“This is the second year where the Boys and Girls Club has had an admission fee, and it has been a transition,” Tiede said. “We no longer can provide transportation and the numbers have dipped a little, but we have survived.”

Tiede said the budget cuts made an impact on the youth programs.

“The few kids that can no longer come now are missing out on activities and additional tutoring in our after school programs,” Tiede said.

After school programs at the high school level are also facing cuts, according to Curt Herrman, Manhattan-Ogden Board of Education member.

“Three million dollars has been cut from the district’s budget,” Herrman said. “One example is the high school football team, who had to cut three coaches.”

Herrman said the board copes with these changes by raising the prices for high school games and school parking. The high school now charges $75 for a parking permit instead of $25. This generated an extra $30,000, which the board used to fund event security, transportation and custodial work for after-school programs.

Junnae Campbell, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Manhattan, said the organization is trying to make up funding through donations.

“With the funding we aren’t getting from the government anymore, we are stressing an effort into the community for individual donations,” Campbell said.

Campbell said she wants to make sure the community is well aware of the budget cuts and lack of funding they are receiving.

“We stress the need for individuals, and what we can do with a small donation,” Campbell said.

The Boys and Girls Club takes donations and uses them as efficiently and effectively as possible, according to Campbell.

“Utilizing partnerships is a way to get around our smaller budget,” Campbell said. “Local businesses like Staples and other agencies offer discounts if you purchase in bulk. It has really made us much more strategic and efficient.”