Charlotte non-profit learning program opens spaces for CMS students affected by After School Enrichment Program site closings

Updated: Feb. 25, 2021 at 5:30 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Come April, 60 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools After School Enrichment Programs will temporarily close, but one non-profit is making sure students still have a place to go.

The district announced Tuesday that 60 of the programs, out of the 85 currently open, will be closing, meaning that 224 employees will be laid off.

This will affect a total of 477 students. CMS says parents are eligible to cross-enroll into these sites and will receive resources along with closure notification to support their ability to access child care options.

Megan Dunn’s daughter Fiona is one of those students who will now need to find another after-school program option.

“We just couldn’t imagine why the program would be closed,” Dunn said.

The kindergartener is on an A/B schedule two days a week in-person and spends the other three days learning virtually at a private daycare.

Dunn’s considered having her go to the daycare the other three days to make up for the ASEP closure. She’s thought about having her ride a CMS bus to the daycare but wasn’t 100% comfortable with it. In addition, going to the daycare is an expense that she says not all parents she knows can afford.

“There are other families that may not have other options at this time. They don’t have the dual income to be able to pay for the more expensive, private after-school and child care programs,” Dunn said.

This announcement brought mixed emotions to Belinda Colter who is the Executive Director of Innovative Learning, Inc. On one end she says she was saddened to hear about the employees and the students but saw a silver lining to open up more spaces for the children.

“We can now help some of those families who need that after-school care and have those children come here,” Colter said.

The program is open to K-8 students and provides homework and tutoring assistance along with several enrichment activities including art and STEM.

Program Director Micah Ingram believes this is an opportunity for growth not just for the students but the program too.

“We like to build a culture here, more so like a family,” Ingram said.

When it comes to finances and after-school care, Colter says that should be the least of parents’ worries.

“We do try to work with each family individually after we talk with the parent and see what their needs are,” Colter said.

Colter says they have 20 spaces available and there are scholarship opportunities for families. If you’re interested in enrolling click here.

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