Thomas Palmer is like a lot of superintendents these days. His school district is always looking for ways to save cash. So this week, a narrow four to three vote from the board ended daycare and latchkey programs at Vassar Public Schools, a move that could trim $50,000 from the budget.
"We are losing money. The majority of the board decided that it was not in the expense that they wanted to spend it on at this particular point and time, because they wanted to make sure the K-12 program was up and viable," Palmer said.
People we talked with here in town don't agree with the board's decision to end the latchkey program.
"I just feel it's not a good idea. Kids after school, that don't have parents that are not home, they need somewhere to go," one Vassar resident said.
"I think there's people out there that really need that extra hand during the weekday with their kids, and if they don't have no one there to help them out, you know it would be kind of hard for them," said another Vassar resident.
Uncertainty, Palmer says, is the biggest reason why the programs were cut. There's no way to know how many families will sign up. So there's no way to know how much the program will cost to run. The superintendent tells WNEM when you're watching every penny like he is, you can't afford to play the what if game.
"Everybody wants the program. Everybody understands the need, the entire board understood the need of the program. But it really just came down to are we comfortable with the amount of money we are going to have to put forward for the program?" Palmer said.
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