Prince George’s school board approves before- and after-school fee hikes -- Gazette.Net







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The cost of the before- and after-care program in Prince George’s County Public Schools will be going up beginning July 1.

School system CEO Kevin Maxwell said the program, which provides care for approximately 2,900 students, was designed to be self-supporting, rather than relying on funds from the school system.

“Costs do increase periodically, and in our estimate, we need to increase the rate to maintain its self-sufficient status,” said Thomas E. Sheeran, the school system’s acting chief financial officer.

The school board approved the increases, as well as a tuition increase for out-of-county students, 8-0 with three abstentions during its Jan. 9 afternoon meeting. The registration fee will increase from $10 to $25 per child, and tuition will increase from $145 to $155 biweekly, effective July 1.

Maxwell said registration fees for the before- and after-school program have not been increased since the program’s inception in 1986, and tuition was last increased in 2010.

The increases are expected to provide an additional $537,500 to the program’s budget, according to school system documents, which Maxwell said is needed to keep the program self sufficient.

The before- and after-school extended learning program operates out of 59 of the county’s 122 elementary schools.

Board member Edward Burroughs (Dist. 8) asked if the school system could help fund the increase.

“I would just hate to see parents, especially those with two, three or four kids at one site, to have to experience an increase and struggle to the point where you have students sitting at home watching TV because they can’t afford it,” Burroughs said.

Sheeran said the costs are approximately half that found for equivalent child care in the private sector.

“If this is a self-supporting program, which it was set up to be, then we don’t have a lot of choice but to raise tuition when costs go up,” Maxwell said. “Unless the board wants to start paying for people’s child care.”

Brenda Neal, county school system program supervisor, said state and county agencies offer vouchers and subsidies for low-income families.

Tuition rates for nonresident students increases by approximately $100 per year for elementary and secondary students, and approximately $1,000 for special education students.

Tuition rates differ depending on whether the student is coming from another Maryland county, Washington, D.C., Virginia, or some other state or country.

If the student is attending school for less than one 180-day school year, the fees are prorated accordingly, according to school system documents.

The fees are calculated yearly and are the total cost of educating a student based on the current year’s estimated enrollment and estimated expenditures for the year.