UCPS increases afterschool program rates for 2022-23, state grant could lower prices for parents

The approved price increase is $125 a week for the first child and $120 for each additional child.
UCPS's finance committee voted to increase the weekly tuition rates for 2022-23 from $70 for one child to $125, and from $65 to $120 for each additional child.
Published: Apr. 27, 2022 at 6:01 PM EDT
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MONROE, N.C. (WBTV) - Union County Public Schools parents with children in the After School Program are seeing a spike in tuition rates.

UCPS has 12 ASP sites that serve 592 students across the county from Stallings to Monroe, Wingate, Waxhaw, Indian Trail and Matthews.

Kendall Latham has two elementary school-aged children in the program.

“I am a working parent and typically I travel every single week, my husband owns his own business and we rely on the ASP,” Latham said. “We live in a rural area of the county that if we don’t use our after-school program then I potentially would have to leave my kids at home alone and that’s not safe.”

On March 1, the district’s finance committee voted to increase the weekly tuition rates for 2022-23 from $70 for the first child and $65 for each additional child to $125 and $120 respectively. Employees will receive a $20 discount.

The Board of Education approved this rate that same day.

District leaders said the price increase was suggested to offset the rising costs of labor, food, supplies and equipment.

“Rates have been adjusted for the increase in salary and benefits that we recently did for our after-school staff as well as accounted for some costs of doing business,” the district’s Chief Finance Officer Shanna McLamb said.

Latham said she couldn’t believe the increase and said this could affect some parents’ ability to afford it.

“Some parents are saying ‘I am going to have to make a tough decision.’ I potentially might have to let my kids off the bus and be at home alone.”

She says multiple parents, including herself, want to work with the BOE to figure out an alternative solution and be a part of one of the district’s core values: “Customer-Driven Quality (i.e., Student/Stakeholder Focus).”

Latham said she has requested copies of research and data that supported the price increase.

“I am very pleased with the after school program, but I’m a problem solver, and so I really wanted to come to them and say let’s strategize and figure this out, but I still don’t have the research, I still don’t have the metrics,” she said.

On April 26, the finance committee met and presented an update on the ASP tuition rates. McLamb says UCPS applied for and was approved for a North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services grant, which would offer tuition assistance for all 12 sites.

“Some of the qualifications and the criteria for the use of these funds was also to provide assistance to families on tuition rates,” McLamb said.

The committee voted to amend the 2022-23 rates with the support of the grant, to $100 for the first child and $95 for each additional child. Employees would receive a $25 discount each week.

“These funds are subject to a recertification, and it’s a quarterly payment and it is also subject to the availability of the funding,” McLamb said.

The amendment will be presented to the BOE for a final vote at the May 3 meeting.

Until then, Latham is urging the district to be more transparent and make sure all families across the county can continue to use and afford the program.

“Equity is a core value, and so if the After School Program is no longer either A, no longer offered, or B, parents can’t afford it, then what happens to those students? I think that’s really important that we really have to think about the equity piece of all of this,” Latham said.

Registration is open for the After School Program, for more information, click here.

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