ACS seeks funding for afterschool

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Andalusia City Schools is pursuing grant funding that would allow the system to operate after-school programs beginning in January, as well as a summer program for at least the next three years.

The Andalusia City Council on Tuesday approved a memorandum of understanding to partner with the school system for the Carter G. Woodson 21st Century Grant program. The application is due Friday, and if approved in September, will mean $200,000 for three consecutive years.

Andy Wiggins, who oversees parks and recreation for the city, said the proposal is a “very ambitious project that could mean good things to our community.”

Plans are to use the grant funds to operate an after school program at Andalusia Middle School once students move from that facility to the high school campus in January. Programming will include tutoring, enrichment, and recreation programs.

Wiggins said students will be introduced to enrichment opportunities that are available locally, but which might be too expensive for their parents to pursue for them until they know that the students really have an aptitude for the activity.

“For instance, karate,” Wiggins said. “My son wanted to do that. We purchased the outfit. By the time we got him outfitted, and paid for the class, we had spent a considerable amount of money. He went two or three times, don’t like it.

“If a kid excels in the introduction, they can move on to programs different businesses around town operate,” he said.

Beginning ballet, archery, ceramics, and dominoes are among the activities planned.

A full summer program also is planned, with transportation provided. The Coleman Center also will be used in the summer.

Mayor Earl Johnson said the program should help students excel.

“We have children whose parents can afford to send them to after school programs,” Johnson said.

“But there are an awful lot who either go home and sit in front of a TV playing games, or go out getting in to trouble. “What they’re not doing is learning, and becoming involved in community,” he said. “We want to give our children more opportunities. I think what you will see are children who are interested in positive things. Then grades go up, behavior improves, and all kinds of good things happen.”

Both Opp City and Covington County Schools previously have received this grant.