“YAS” Sir, That’s My Baby Boy You’re Bouncing

Budget Shortfall Targets Loudoun County Afterschool Program

Public disclosure as in the above headline – my son attends the Youth After School (YAS) Program.

He loves it due to all the games he plays, events like pancake breaks and arts and crafts.

His mother and I love it due to the cost.

As the county web page reads:
The YAS fee is $25 a month. Loudoun County strives to create an affordable after-school environment where students can study, socialize, and be active while under adult supervision.”
But as property-tax revenues fall way short due to the economic crisis, the YAS program faces cuts if not extinction, prompting me to write this letter to the local newspaper:

Holly Hobbs
County Government Reporter
Loudoun Times-Mirror

My son’s mother has been forwarding me a series of e-mails
regarding YAS getting the ax upon county budget review.
  As a former associate editor (Harrison Daily Times in Arkansas) I
appreciate what you are up against – squeezing a book of budget
information into at most 25 column inches.
  I’m sure you know it is one thing to quote the budget’s facts and
figures with a few eye-catching quotes thrown in and quite another to
“show – don’t tell” what these figures mean.
Pardon the grammar.
  I’ll put it to you this way. Our son and a lot of others included
could be photographed next to an empty townhouse driveway. He’d be
standing at the door putting the key in. Once in, he’d climb the
stairs to fix a microwave dinner or snack, turn on the television or
worse – get on the computer unsupervised.
After about 15 minutes, maybe he’d get bored and decide to go
outside and look for something to do. Hopefully, he’d do nothing like
using a driver to drive a golfball through windows or setting the
sewer system on fire with fuel stored in the garage. In my youth as a
latchkey child I knew of a few children (a-hem) like that.
YAS has merit not only in keeping unsupervised children like that
out of trouble, but also in teaching them life skills and even
extending education learned in the D.A.R.E. program. It puts their
active imaginations to good use.
  That’s all I can write about that, really. If you don’t have the
newshole you just don’t have it but at least decide if it’s worth
begging more space for as a sidebar and photo. Kid photos go over big
– but I’m sure you know that.
  -Samuel Adams

As to the public hearings scheduled for any interested readers, they are listed below. You must register in advance if you wish to speak.

LOUDOUN COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT
Message sent – 2/22/2009
Board of Supervisors’ Upcoming Public Input

This is Wayde Byard, the public information officer for Loudoun County Public Schools.

The Board of Supervisors will hold three public hearings on its proposed budget for the next fiscal year. The school budget for 2009-2010 is part of this budget.

These hearings will be at 6 p.m. Wednesday, February 25th, at the Government Center in Leesburg, 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 26th, again at the government center, and at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 28th, at the School Administrative Offices in Ashburn.

The Board of Supervisors has scheduled three separate days of hearings to encourage public comment.

To speak at these hearings, you must sign up by calling 703-777-0204. You may only speak once.

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