Future unclear for Madera Co after-school program

FRESNO, Calif.

This after the California Department of Education denied its application for more than a million dollars in grant money, and it may all come down to a clerical error.

Ron Montoya is the father of twin nine year old boys who regularly attend Club YES.

An after-school program run by the Madera County Office of Education that serves about 1800 students in five school districts - including Madera Unified.

"The after-school program first of all provides me with relief and comfort my kids are in a safe environment," Montoya said.

He's concerned when school gets out in three weeks his children won't have an after-school program to return to.

That's because the district voted last October to go in a new direction and replace the county-run program with one with its own.

"I'm sad to see that these kids have developed a relationship with the staff here at Club YES and all of a sudden, it's taken away from them," Montoya said.

The problem, he says, is with funding.

"What we're transitioning towards is really an extension of the school day and offering an academic-based program," Madera Unified spokesperson Jake Bragonier said.

The district had applied for more than a $1 million in state funds to start its new program, but on Friday it found out it will not be awarded the money.

"Our application was not reviewed in the way it should have been. Quite literally it got placed in the wrong pile by the California Department of Education and as result they have an appeals process in place for issues like that," Bragonier said.

Bragonier told Action News the district was filing that appeal as we sat in his office. He also insisted officials have a backup plan in case the CDE doesn't grant them the money.

"If it doesn't go through, we'll move forward with funding the program ourselves out of categorical funding," Bragonier said.

But the district is already strapped for cash and parents like Ron Montoya are upset that Club YES will be a no-go starting next year.

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