Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco-Hernando agency cuts subsidies for after-school care

SPRING HILL — The Pasco Hernando Early Learning Coalition voted unanimously Thursday to pare the subsidies for after-school care, freeing up money for younger children's services.

The plan will phase out the subsidies for low-income children ages 9 to 12. Those children will be allowed to stay in their programs until Jan. 1. No new older children, however, will be accepted after July 1.

Exemptions will include children in protective custody, those with special needs and those whose parents receive welfare payments.

Officials said the move was necessary to free money for child care and school readiness services for children under age 5, the Early Learning Coalition's target group.

"This board has a choice," executive director Jim Farrelly said. "Accept the tough decision to reduce the age range or accept a long waiting list."

Farrelly said with no change, the waiting list would be expected to be upward of 2,000 during 2010-11.

The reason for the age change boils down to money. The coalition was propped up last year with federal stimulus money, but will operate with $1.6 million less this fiscal year as that funding source dries up.

Farrelly said the nonprofit agency made other changes before turning to these cuts. It established a waiting list for child care, used attrition to cut coalition staff, froze administrative spending, carried over as much stimulus money as possible and sought additional grants.

"It's a financial issue," Farrelly said. "I wish it wasn't, but at this point we have to find a way to deal with children whose parents are most frequently knocking on our doors."

Board members met last month to discuss a change, but after angry parents and providers showed up, decided to wait until they could get more information. A task force of board members and providers was then formed to come up with a solution.

Farrelly explained after the meeting that the task force recommended the cutoff age of 9 because experts say that's the time when children "stop learning to read and start reading to learn."

Child care providers who spoke didn't object to the deal. However, Shane Harris asked for a re-examination when the economy improves.

"I ask that we open the age range back up should the monies become available in the future," he said.

What options are available for older kids who need an after-school program?

Farrelly said the Boys and Girls Clubs in Port Richey and Lacoochee and YMCA of the Suncoast are possible choices. He also said some day care centers may offer multichild discounts so parents with a younger child and an older child might be able to keep them in the same place.

The Boys and Girls Clubs provide transportation from school, snacks and activities from 2 to 6 p.m. on school days, plus full-day programs on school holidays. The cost per semester ranges from $200 to $300 on a sliding scale. A summer program also is offered.

The YMCA of the Suncoast serves 75 subsidized children ages 9 to 12. Parents can seek financial help from the Y, which has a policy not to turn anyone away due to an inability to pay.

Lisa Buie can be reached at or (813) 909-4604.

Pasco-Hernando agency cuts subsidies for after-school care 05/27/10 [Last modified: Thursday, May 27, 2010 8:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. No toll lanes north of downtown Tampa in three of four interstate proposals


    TAMPA — Express lanes may not be coming to downtown Tampa after all. Or at least not to the stretch of Interstate 275 that goes north through Bearss Avenue.

    Seminole Heights resident Kimberly Overman discusses the new interstate options with V.M. Ybor resident Chris Vela (left), Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp and HNTB consultant Chloe Coney during a Tampa Bay Express meeting Monday night at the Barrymore Hotel. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON  |  Times]
  2. No lack of issues facing St. Petersburg's six council candidates


    ST. PETERSBURG — The six candidates for City Council gathered Monday evening in the very chamber to which they aspire to serve.

    St. Petersburg City Council candidates (from left)  Brandi Gabbard and Barclay Harless in District 2; Jerick Johnston and incumbent council member Darden Rice in District 4; and Justin Bean and Gina Driscoll of District 6. All six candidates appeared at Monday night's forum at City Hall sponsored by the League of Women Voters. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]

  3. Iraq's Kurds vote on independence, raising regional fears


    IRBIL, Iraq — Iraqi Kurds voted Monday in a landmark referendum on supporting independence, a move billed by the Kurdish leadership as an exercise in self-determination but viewed as a hostile act by Iraq's central government. Neighboring Turkey even threatened a military response.

    People celebrate Monday after voting closed in a referendum on independence in Irbil, Iraq.
  4. North Korean diplomat says Trump has 'declared war'


    UNITED NATIONS — North Korea's top diplomat said Monday that President Donald Trump's weekend tweet was a "declaration of war" and North Korea has the right to retaliate by shooting down U.S. bombers, even in international airspace.

    North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, center, speaks outside the U.N. Plaza Hotel in New York on Monday.
  5. Pinellas grants St. Pete's request to add millions to pier budget

    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

    The Pinellas County Commission has granted St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's request to dedicate millions more toward the city's new pier.

    The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday  voted 7-1 to appropriate $17.6 million for the over-water portion of the Pier District. This is a rendering of what the new Pier District could look like. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg]