AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - One of the most popular programs at the Warford Activity Center in Amarillo, the after school program, is operated by the City of Amarillo.
Last year, around 60 children were able to attend the program for $20 to $30 a month.
“It offers a place for kids to come and get things like a light snack, some gym time, outdoor playground, indoor activities, different break out sessions, whether it’s blocks or sports camp," said Michael Kashuba, Director of Parks and Rec for the City of Amarillo.
However, operation costs are forcing the city to propose a higher program fee just to break even.
The program cost about $80,000 to operate last year, but the city only recovered about $13,000.
The proposed fee change would allow the city to recover 100 percent of its operation cost.
For members, the fee could change to $170 a month or $190 a month for non-members.
Those who receive free or reduced lunch would receive a qualified rate.
“The qualified rate would be $70 for members, $90 for non-members. We also requested three scholarships, which would cover the full cost of the program,” said Kashuba.
The city looked at what Amarillo ISD charges for its extended day program, which is similar to its proposed fees.
The Maverick Boys and Girls Club and Wesley Community Center charge less for similar programming, but Kashuba says they have additional funding sources.
Before making any decision, the city will be reaching out to parents whose children have attended.
“An overwhelming majority of the participants in the program are coming from Carver ECA, which is a magnet school, so we’re getting kids from all over the community,” said Kashuba.
Brandon Smith, who graduated from Palo Duro High School, recently returned to Amarillo after playing basketball overseas to serve as the center’s supervisor.
He wants to inspire kids to dream beyond Amarillo.
Programs like this one provide that opportunity.
“Just people, number one, to give people a sense of community,” said Smith. “We have programs where kids can grow and develop their skills for their future life.”
After tabling the discussion on Tuesday, the Amarillo City Council will revisit the issue on July 9 and decide how to move forward.
Sign-ups for the program are expected to begin on July 15 and will be on a first come, first serve basis for 52 spots.
If you’d like to contact the Parks and Recreation Department, you can give them a call at (806) 378-3056.