Federal summer school program canceled because of budget cuts

Wednesday, May 29th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ENID, Okla. (AP) _ Enid school officials have canceled a federal summer school program because of reductions in state funding to the district.

The federal government reimburses the school for the math and reading program. But administrators say they will have problems paying costs up front after learning they would have $672,000 less from the state for the 2001-02 school year, superintendent Kem Keithly said.

``We're not going to have enough cash flow to do that program and meet our other obligations,'' Keithly said. ``It's just one of those years. I don't know when it will get better.''

Schools throughout the state are hurting because of cuts to the state Education Department's budget shortly before the end of the school year.

Enid's free, monthlong summer program was scheduled to start next Monday. Four-hundred students were enrolled, up from 366 last year. Of the 400, 389 are in elementary and 11 in junior high.

Students can be placed in the classes on the recommendations of parents and teachers because of low test scores. The program usually lasts six hours a day and costs about $220,000.

Administrators considered cutting the program back by two hours and delaying its start, which would have made the cost $150,000, Keithly said.

But with the amount of budget cuts and their timing, canceling the program was the best solution, he said.

Fifty-five employees, ranging from administrators to bus drivers, were to have worked in the program. Keithly said he hopes employees can find other summer jobs but realizes it may be too late.

Because the classes were canceled, the summer nutrition program also was canceled. Any child under 18 would have received free breakfast and lunch on weekdays June 3-28.

The school system still will have tuition-based summer programs, officials said.

Keithly said officials don't know if cuts in the 2003-04 school budget will mean cancellation of the summer program next year.