Pascagoula loses potential partner for after-school program

Updated: Aug. 22, 2018 at 2:50 PM CDT
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PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - A potential partner for Pascagoula's after-school program has withdrawn from involvement with the city, the city confirmed.

As Pascagoula's leaders continue to make improvements to create a more balanced budget for fiscal year 2019, the owners of In The Zone have taken back their offer, despite unanimous approval by the City Council at their regular meeting last night.

In discussions with city officials, owners of In The Zone cited concerns about public acceptance of the change.

"We completely respect their decision and wish them nothing but continued success," said Assistant City Manager Frank Corder. "They came to the table in our time of need and we're sorry it didn't work out for our families. Qualified, respected after-school program providers who are willing to come here and replicate a successful program aren't easy to find."

"We heard the feedback from the community, following two consecutive nights of Council discussion on this topic. We understand this is a service line that has the community's support. So, we are back to the drawing board, reworking budget numbers so we can remain in the after-school business, at least for this school year. We don't want to leave parents in a lurch, but the reality is that to make it (at least) a budget-neutral service line there is going to be some increase in the enrollment fee," said City Manager Ryan Frederic.

Any fee adjustments and program changes will be communicated to the parents of enrolled students by mid-September, with any adjustments taking place as of October 1.

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