Decatur schools cutting afterschool programs, lack of staff

Gené Hunter

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(ATLANTA, Ga.) Decatur may be forced to cut back on after-school programs for the upcoming school year due to a shortage of staff members.

The Director of Children and Youth Services in the city, Claire Miller, says that the issue is nationwide.

“Like many childcare agencies around the region and the country, we are facing a severe shortage of applicants to our part-time after-school positions,” Miller said. “The pace of new applications is so slow that we have had to adjust our plans for opening programs in the 2021-22 school year.”

Due to the city’s inability to find program workers, many residents and parents can expect the following changes:

  • Project REAL 6th-8th grade program will not operate in 2021-22. Families will need to make other arrangements for enrolled middle schoolers.
  • Ebster Whiz Kids will not operate at Ebster Recreation Center. All Ebster Whiz Kids enrollees will be absorbed into the Fifth Avenue Whiz Kids program.
  • Whiz Kids (3rd-5th grade) programs at Talley Street and Fifth Avenue should open on AUGUST 31. CYS will review staffing levels as of August 16 and update Whiz Kids families to confirm whether an 8/31 opening date is feasible (or whether a later date will need to be set based on staffing levels).
  • Animal Crackers (K-2nd grade) programs at Clairemont, Glennwood, Oakhurst, Westchester and Winnona Park will open as planned on August 3 (first day of school).

Currently, the city is accepting applications from those interested in working with the after-school programs to keep them running. A call for staff members was posted to the city's official Instagram page with the caption stating, "Join our team in the Children & Youth Services division to provide leadership, outdoor DIY, and STEAM activities at our after-school programs."

“Every new applicant we can get is precious right now as we work to fill positions to operation our 3rd-5th grade Whiz Kids programs at the upper elementary schools,” Miller said.

Applications and additional information regarding roles and compensation are listed online.

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Atlanta-based journalist with a passion for all things lifestyle and community. Story ideas/tips? gene.hunter@newsbreak.com

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