No more after-school latchkey

By Jonathan Delozier -

There will be no more after-school latchkey in Wellington starting this fall, but the morning program will remain open at Westwood Elementary School.

A drastic dip in enrollment and questions regarding funding sources have led the Wellington board of education to cut a paid latchkey assistant and reduce the hours of latchkey coordinator Jackie Dunlap from 6.8 to 2.8 per day.

Officials attribute the drop in enrollment to free after-school services offered by the Boys & Girls Club, which came to Wellington at the start of last school year thanks to $2 million in state grants.

Dunlap said latchkey will extend its service range to include seventh and eighth grade students and rework its fee structure to a flat rate of $10 per latchkey session.

Previously, families paid an initial $40 enrollment fee then $4.50 for each hour of participation. The $40 enrollment fee has been done away with, Dunlap said.

“It’s very important to us to maintain our morning programming,” she said. “Many families in our area live out in the country and have to be at work in the early morning. It’s vital we have a place for those kids to go before school and get a nice, hot breakfast.”

Earlier this year, a $6,500 annual donation to latchkey from the Mercy Health Foundation was in danger of being discontinued but ended up still coming through. However, that funding will now be reviewed on a year-to-year basis.

“I still plan on applying for that money,” Dunlap said. “That usually takes place sometime over the summer around July or August.”

The remainder of latchkey’s $40,000 annual budget is brought in through donations and fundraisers.

Latchkey students will still be accepted as early as 6:15 a.m. next school year at Westwood.

Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.

By Jonathan Delozier