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$500,000 to fund after-school program

A $500,000 state grant to implement an after-school program was announced Wednesday during a meeting of the Silver Creek School Board.

The money, awarded through the state Office of Child and Family Services, will be distributed to Silver Creek through Chautauqua Opportunities.

David O'Rourke, director of technology and instruction, said the program will serve children in kindergarten through eighth grade and run from the close of school until 5:30 p.m. Children will be bused home.

O'Rourke said the program may be up and running by early December, with an estimated 50 children.
Officials noted the program, which is offered in several school districts in Western New York, is credited with helping kids avoid risky behavior and improving grades.

Agencies working with the program include the Cornell Cooperative Extension, Rural Ministries, Anderson-Lee Library and Chautauqua County Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse.
O'Rourke said a full-time grant coordinator will be hired for the program, as well as a part-time clerical person and several counselors.

Staffers will be employees of Chautauqua Opportunities, which is currently advertising to fill the posts.

"The program is based on the 4-H program," said O'Rourke, adding that it will feature science, tutoring, public speaking, research and recreational programs such as cross-country skiing and crafts.

The district will be required to provide about $30,000 in funding and services.

In other matters, trustees approved an auditor's review of the 2004-05 school year.

Kevin Wystup of Johnson, Mackowiak, Moore and Myott, discussed areas where the district should improve, including a review of personnel duties.

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