The Boys & Girls Club of Central Texas is asking the city for $140,000 to help defer the cost of its after-school program, which has expanded more than 50 percent in the past year.
The youth development nonprofit will compete with a proposed 16 new police officers ($482,480), fire department training ($35,000), city employee raises ($450,719) and engineering for a new fire station ($482,000) for governmental funding.
The city of Harker Heights has pledged to contribute $50,000 to the Boys & Girls Club for the after-school programs that are provided for children ages 6 to 18 in their city.
11 Killeen schools
have club programs
On the first day of school — Aug. 27 — 11 schools in Killeen will have Boys & Girls Club after-school programs, including three high schools that have never carried the programs.
“We need to have a touch with those kids through high school because that leads to their decision making and college choices,” said Jon Charles, chief professional officer of the Boys & Girls Club. “We need to have a bigger thumbprint in their lives.”
Club treasurer Wallace Vernon said in the schools that Boys & Girls Club programs have been implemented, discipline problems went down and test scores went up.
The organization generates much of its $1 million budget from its four bingo halls located in Killeen.
The Boys & Girls Club pays approximately $172,000 in prize tax money from the bingo halls to the city of Killeen, said Vernon.
In 2008, the city of Killeen gave the initial $80,000 of seed money to the Boys & Girls Club but has not contributed funds since.
“The city of Killeen needs to step up and pay something for this program,” Wallace said, adding he would attend every city council meeting until the budget is passed on Sept. 11.
Councilwoman Elizabeth Blackstone, who worked for 30 years in education, placed the Boys & Girls Club funding on the city’s proposed fiscal year 2012-13 budget.
“I think it is important because it serves a lot of kids and it is a really good program,” Blackstone said. “I don’t see why we should not support it.”