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Gadsden Suspends After School Programs Due Lack Of Cash

An empty classroom with blue metal chairs in three rows
Bonnie Brown
/
Flickr/creative commons

After-school programs in Gadsden are suspended until further notice. The school district’s programs are out of money. However, the superintendent says he hopes the interruption won’t be for long. 

The temporary closure of after school affects about 600 Gadsden students at 10 schools.  The district is in the process of renewing its federal after school grants, and says it’s not a matter of if the renewals will be approved, but when the money will come down. The problem now says Superintendent Roger Milton, is one of cash flow. Due to Hurricane Michael damages, the district doesn’t have enough cash-on-hand to keep the programs going.

“We’re working with FEMA [the Federal Emergency Management Agency]  and insurance to recoup some of those funds, but we have received limited monies...and we’ve gotten $400,000 and spent a couple million in reference to the hurricane," he said. 

The school district sustained more than $80 million in damages from Hurricane Michael. It’s spent about $4 million, and has only received $400,000 back from insurance claims.

The Florida Department of Education floated Gadsden some money for after school in July programs to get it through the transition to a new fiscal year as it awaited its federal after school grant money, but that cash advance ran out Monday, September. 1. 

In the meantime, Milton acknowledges the lapse in the program creates a hardship for parents, and says they were told about the suspension of after school late last week. The district will continue offering its early-morning programs. 

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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