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New after-school program planned for Neal Wilkins
CARE program discontinued
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One Platteville Public Schools after-school program is being discontinued, but a pilot after-school program will begin this coming school year.

The Children After-school Receiving Enrichment program at Neal Wilkins Early Learning Center is ending with the close of the 2014–15 school year today.

The CARE program, which ran every school day from 3:15 to 6 p.m., was discontinued in part for financial reasons and in part because of duplication within Platteville.

The program for children from four-year-old kindergarten to sixth grade was self-sustaining at its start, but lost more than $7,500 in the 2013–14 school year and more than that this year. Part of the reason was diminishing enrollment in the program, with between two and five students attending any day of the week. The program cost $8.25 per day attended.

School district officials said other programs are available in the Platteville area for before- and after-school student care, as well as care on days there is no school or early release days.

Instead of the CARE program, Neal Wilkins will have a pilot program that doesn’t duplicate CARE, but performs similar services. The School Board approved the pilot program Monday night.

The pilot program will target kindergarteners and first-graders, with two sessions per week per grade level between Sept. 14 and Dec. 3, and then between Feb. 1 and April 29. The sessions will be held from 3:15 to 5:15 p.m.

The program will begin with a snack and gym or recess time, followed by activities in such areas as art, science, math, play acting and storytelling, and technology.

The program will charge $2 for snacks and supplies, plus $1 for an optional shuttle, per day. 

See PROGRAM page 3A υ

Low-income families can apply for fee waivers.

Renah Reuter, PPS’ director of student achievement and intervention services, described the program as “the start of trying to offer something to the lower grades — something we don’t always have time to do during the school day.”

She described the activities as “new opportunities to close some of the gaps,” including STEM activities — “more educational than an Xbox.”

“We do have some kids who go home and are unsupervised at that age, or have a middle school sibling supervising them,” she said.

Reuter said as many as 75 children could attend, based on Neal Wilkins parent attendance at evening events, but low attendance is likely at first “because nobody knows what it is yet. … We aren’t going to start with 75.”

PPS superintendent Connie Valenza said the program would need a minimum of 10 to 15 students to begin. Parental interest will be gauged at student registration Aug. 17.


The program may cost as much as $28,000, offset to some extent by student fees and federal Title funds.