ICCSD loses 45 before-and-after-school program scholarships

Due to district wide budget cuts and the loss of federal funding, 45 scholarships for before-and-after-school programs at the elementary schools will be lost.

This June, 30 students in the Mark Twain before-and-after-school program (BASP) and 15 students in the Alexander BASP will lose their scholarships, preventing their families from sending the students to the summer camp program. This loss is due to funding cuts and the end of the federal grant, 21st Century Community Learning Centers. 

These programs help to provide safe, accessible and affordable childcare for families in the ICCSD living in low-income areas, allowing parents to work so they can earn more income to financially support their families, as well as providing learning opportunities and tutoring services for the kids. They also aim to improve the mental health of the children they are serving.

Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County is a nonprofit organization that provides human resources to children and adults in our area. They partner with the school district to run these programs and are raising money to reinstate these scholarships. Their goal is to raise $100,000 for this purpose, and they are just over a fourth of the way there.

The loss of these scholarships was one of many budget cuts the ICCSD has had to make this year, in order to reduce spending by $5 million before June 2023 and $8 to $9 million by June 2025. In order to reduce spending to meet these needs, the district has delayed buying new math materials for elementary students, re-organized the OLP (online learning program) and reduced the number of teaching positions. Part of this involved the district offering retirement packages to encourage teachers to retire. The district has reduced the staff by 14 elementary school teaching positions, 4 elementary special teaching positions and 9 secondary school teaching positions. 

“I don’t think it’s a stretch to say we’re in uncertain times in public education. But one of the things that always makes me proud to be here in Iowa City is how we come together in a collective group for the benefit of our kids,” said Matt Degner, ICCSD superintendent in a message he sent to staff members to keep them informed on budget updates. “There’s so many things going on in the state of Iowa that are not making our job easier, but at the same time we know that our kids deserve our best.”