Funding Falls Through For Club Yes & Key Visions at Madera Unified Print
News - Local
Written by B|V|N Newsroom   
Friday, 11 May 2012 03:48

"Arredondo was hell bent on getting rid of Club Yes at MUSD for two years" - Trustee Lynn Cogdill

-  Over 19,000 students from the Madera Unified School will have no where to go but home after school next year. The school district, which made a move to take over the successful Club Yes and Key Vision programs operated by the Madera County Office of Education, was turned down for state funding for the 2012-13 school year.

According to a county source, "MUSD was making a grab to collect the 10% administrative fees of the $2.6 million grant for their budget instead of letting the county continue with their programs. Now both programs are dead."

When we contact Madera Unified for a comment, MUSD Associate Superintendent for Business and Operations Kelly Porterfield was unaware the school district had been turned down by the state. "We are still waiting on the state to tell us if we got it", Porterfield texted thirteen minutes after we asked the question, "Is funding dead for Club Yes".

An hour later we received a phone call from Porterfield saying that the grant for the high school after school program Key Vision was only affected. But twenty minutes later Porterfield called to say that both the Key Vision and Club Yes after school education and safety program grants for Madera Unified did not come through from the state.

When asked who's idea was it to have the school district take over such successful programs Portefield declined to answer.

However Big Valley News runs a recap of every MUSD board meeting and we reviewed those recaps to learn that at the February 8, 2011 meeting of the MUSD Board of Trustees the discussion of who would continue the after school program first saw the light of day. At the next meeting on February 22, 2011 a vote was taken with only three board members supporting the take over of the program, two voted no, one abstention and one was absence.

The perceived failure of the agenda item at that meeting was greeted with cheers by staff and parents of Club Yes. However, by the conclusion of that meeting, there were considerable questions regarding whether or not the result of the vote was indeed a non-approval.

The board thought it was possible that a 3-2-1-1 vote actually approves the agenda item, in which case MUSD could move forward with its application. The district needed to solicit the advice of legal counsel regarding the outcome of a vote that yields three yes votes, two no votes, one abstention and one absence.

The answer must have been "NO" since the Madera Unified board spent much of the October 28, 2011 meeting again discussing the option of directing staff to apply for an after-school program grant that would fund a district-coordinated program.

At the October meeting the boards discussion centered on the pros and cons of applying for an after-school program grant, with the goal being to eventually take over the after-school programs.

In the end, the board voted to direct district staff to apply for the grants specified, and also to apply for any other grants that could assist with the implementation of an after-school program.

Trustee Michael Salvador noted that its "time to take a look at a new direction. It doesnt hurt to look."

The board president Robert E. Garibay spoke at length just prior to the board vote. He noted that during the initial discussion in February regarding after-school programs, he had a concern about "stealing a program from another agency that had worked diligently to provide a service to the children of MUSD."

But now, Garibay continued, that has changed. "I have to provide an opportunity for our superintendent, and for our staff, to go out and shine in the community. I want to let people know that Madera Unified is active and we're in charge and we want the very best for our kids."

The only board member to answer our questions regarding Club Yes was Trustee Lynn Cogdill. "I told them we would not get the grant it was just a matter of putting the numbers together. They should have done their research before casting a vote 6 to 1. President [Rick] Arredondo was hell bent on getting rid of Club Yes at MUSD for two years. Now he can go tell those families why he worked so hard to give us no after school program. I wonder how he felt when he got the news. I’m sure the families affected have strong feeling over this blunder. This is a sad day for our community....", Cogdill told us.

Looking back at it now I guess Trustee Salvador and Garibay were wrong, sometimes it does hurt to look and maybe the board should have followed the old adage "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".


Photos from the Madera County Office of Education Club Yes Website