INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) -- Several Boys & Girls Club afterschool programs are closing in central Indiana after school districts and organizations lost bids for large education grants.
The 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant is provided by the federal government and distributed by the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE). This year, the IDOE received more funds to support out-of-school organizations across the state. The grants totaled $8.4 million and was awarded to 38 organizations. IDOE reports 10 of those organizations received the grant for the first time, indicating that 10 previous recipients went away empty-handed.
"It's what we deal with every day in education. It's money and it's limited funds," said Adam Baker, press secretary for IDOE.
In the 2018 fiscal year, MSD of Decatur Township, MSD of Mt. Vernon, MSD of Pike Township, MSD of Warren Township, and Indianapolis Public Schools didn't receive the grant. Additionally, the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis and the Boys and Girls Club of Indianapolis were on the "Unawarded Applications" list.
Due to this, the Boys and Girls Club has announced the closure of some afterschool programs, including at IPS George Buck School #94. The organization released the following statement:
"Boys & Girls Clubs of Indianapolis has proudly served the families at George Buck Elementary School, IPS 94, for over 10 years. Due to a loss of grant funding, we will no longer will be able to offer programming at this school-based site beyond the end of the school year. We are looking forward to serving students and families from this site at our Finish Line Boys & Girls Club which is located less than three miles away at 3870 N. Post Road."
Warren Township Schools has also announced closures of the Boys and Girls Club programs at Sunny Heights Elementary and Stonybrook Middle School. However, Assistant Superintendent Ryan Russell tells 24-Hour News 8 that the program at Liberty Park Elementary will remain open as they add it to another grant.
"We continue to look for other funding sources to maintain after school programming for our students," said Russell.
"Every year, it's a new year," said Adam Baker with IDOE. "They fill out the grant application, they submit it, the grant application is reviewed by several of the staff. [...] Essentially then grants are chosen based on a rubric and scoring mechanism as well."
Baker says he's aware several large organizations didn't receive the grant this year but says there's still hope for the programs.
"This year actually isn't over with. There are several other revenue streams that the Boys and Girls Club can apply for," said Baker, adding that the IDOE has already contacted IPS and the Boys and Girls Club to talk one-on-one about their options going forward.
Students are already beginning to hear the news, including 9-year-old Daniel Stanley.
"Before school ends I have something really good to look forward to and sometimes when I have a bad day that cheers me up," Daniel Stanley said about the Boys and Girls Club program at George Buck School.
His sister Lori, now 13, was in the program for six years.
"First we do our homework on Monday through Thursday, but on Friday you just have a free day," she explained.
Lori isn't in the program as a middle schooler, but Daniel says he'll miss his friends at the Boys and Girls Club if the program doesn't find the funding.
A site director at George Buck says the program is expected to close May 18, 2018.