YMCA in Wellsville Fighting for State Funds

YMCA in Southern Tier loses funding for after school program

WELLSVILLE, N.Y. -- A YMCA in the Southern Tier is outraged that funding for an important after-school program will run out by the beginning of the summer. 

Leaders of the program in Wellsville say the state's decision to cut the funding will put kids in need at risk. 

The Twin Tiers YMCA, which serves Wellsville, Olean and Bradford Pa., was denied a state grant last month, forcing a popular after-school program the YMCA runs to end in June. 

"I think the community in general and all the stakeholders of the y were all disappointed that we didn't get refunded," said Jeff Alevy, CEO of Twin Tiers YMCA. "The fact that the most dangerous hours for kids during the day are after school to be left alone...there's quite an impact."

The YMCA was denied what's called 21st Century school funding – money that the YMCA has received in the past, but not this year.
 
Because of the denial, 330 kids will be impacted and between 15 to 20 staff members will be laid off.
 
Kids in the program told us how they like it here and don't want the program to go away.
 
The YMCA made a video that it posted on Facebook announcing the impact.
 
"It was a way to express ourselves," Alevy said.  
 
"Currently our budget is set for next year so this information came very late in the budget processes which starts way back in December," said the Wellsville school superintendent, Kimberly Mueller. "So for the current year no, there's nothing we can do to save the program for next year."
 
The district says it will look into possibly finding money in its budget for the following school year – the program costs $350,000.
 
After June, the district and YMCA will offer a program in which parents will have to pay $50 per week to have their kids take advantage of the program – a cost some parents told us they can't afford. 
 
It turns out a majority of the funding in this program went to larger school districts like Buffalo, Rochester and NYC. Wellsville YMCA is appealing the decision.
 
Senator Cathy Young says she tried to get this funding in the state budget, but Wellsville didn't meet poverty requirements. 
 
The State Education Department offered the following statement regarding the YMCA not receiving funding: 
 

“The 21st Century Community Learning Centers program is a highly competitive peer-reviewed grant award in which only a fraction of applicants are able to be funded. In this Round 7 announcement, we received more than 500 applications and only had enough funds to award approximately 25% of applicants.”

 

© 2017 WGRZ-TV


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