Menlo Park City Council verbally delayed the elimination of the Belle Haven After-School Program for a year during a city budget review session Tuesday night.
City staff proposed that to save about $350,000. Parents of the 41 children enrolled in the program would have been forced to either send their children to the or find alternative after-school care.
This prospect disturbed Valerie Brooke Wilkes. Wilkes is a reading specialist at in Menlo Park. More than half of the students enrolled in the Belle Haven program attend class there.
“I am gravely distressed that the city would balance the budget on the backs of residents least able to afford childcare,” Wilkes told City Councilmembers Tuesday night.
While the city has a budget surplus of $295,990, this excess money relies upon the passage of a transient occupancy tax that will not be placed on the ballot until November. Until then, the city remains in cost recovery mode, and is eliminating social services and other projects that were originally funded by redevelopment agency money that no longer exists.
at the idea of sending their children to the Boys & Girls Club and gathered hundreds of signatures on a petition to keep the Belle Haven After-School Program. They presented them to Council Tuesday night.
City Council told city staff to budget money to keep the program and it's affiliated summer camp alive for another year. Council did not conduct an official vote.