Parents expected to pay for once-free SF after-school programs

- San Francisco public schools will soon begin asking parents to pay for after-school programs that once were free.

That's because the school district will no longer be receiving millions of dollars in federal money that help fund those programs.   

"We have robotic classes, dancing, music, ballet, tutoring, coding," said Peter Avila, principal at Marshall Elementary School in the Mission District.

At some schools parents already pay for after school programs, but some schools have not been charging.

That is because the San Francisco Unified School District has been picking up much of the tab thanks in part to  a $3.3 million federal grant. But the grant is running out, and is not being renewed this year.

"We knew the year would come where we were't awarded the grant beause it is competitve across the nation. So we're losing that money," said Gentle Blythe, San Francisco Unified School District Spokewoman.

The district will be losing that money beginning in the fall. That's when parents will have to have anywhere from $50-$500 to enroll in after school programs. Depeding on income levels.

Parents say its already enough of a financial struggle to live in San Francisco, now another expense.

"It"s disconcerting and what's that going to mean to us and other families struggling to make it in SF," said parent Rachel Caldwell.

Students at the very lowest economic levels will not have to pay. Everyone else will.

The school principal hopes it won't mean parents pull their children out of the programs because of cost.

"Those middle class families the city is losing, they're going to be losing out," said Avila.

Miranda Martin, who heads the organization San Francisco Parents for Public Schools, said "we've heard from some families that are concerned about their ability to pay more for after school care.

The parent fees won't cover the whole cost. The district says it will have to pull money out of other services to keep the after school programs going.
 

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