Budget Cuts Could Affect After School Program

BENTONVILLE -- There was no shortage of green for Monday's St. Patrick's day school board meeting in Bentonville.

But, one green shortage has budget cuts pending.

"That money does make a difference to some people!"

Jackie Ennis, a Bella Vista dad took to the podium and referred to one luxury that board members are steering toward the chopping block: bus rides from school to the Boys and Girls Club.

It's access to an after-school program that the district provides for nearly 500 students and has done so for more than 20 years, according to Jacob Hutson with the Boys and Girls Club of Benton County.

"Immediate reaction is concern for our families," Hutson says.

"The boys and girls club provides a safe place for our kids to go every single day."

The after-school shuttle sends kids to the three Benton county clubs in the district: one in Bella Vista, and two in Bentonville.

The cost? $120,000, or $1.25 per student.

"I think it's very important," says the Dad who took to the podium, Jackie Ennis.

"I have a 7 year old, we were having behavioral problems, we started sending her to the Boys and Girls Club," Ennis says.

"She has done a complete turnaround in a year and a half."

These are painful decisions nobody likes having to do it

Board member Grant Lightle says the district might still provide the service and just ask the Boys and Girls club to reimburse it.

"From time to time you kind have to be realistic about what you can and can't do that's where we are. Everything is tight right now," Lightle says.

"We absolutely understand and support the boys and girls club and the program they offer is invaluable."

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