Breakfast programs to fill RALLY void

Breakfast programs at four Juneau elementary schools will help fill the void left by the upcoming closure of early morning child care programs.

The school district’s RALLY director is working with the parents of 22 youngsters enrolled in the 7 to 8 a.m. sessions at five schools.

Wayne Hixson says it will be hard to replace RALLY for the first half hour, but breakfast programs begin at Mendenhall River, Glacier Valley, Riverbend and Gastineau at 7:30 a.m. School starts at 8 o’clock.

Hixson says there’s been a steady decline in students enrolled in the program since 2003, with a big drop off when Juneau grade schools switched from a
9 a.m. start time to 8 a.m.

“We used to have elementary school starting at 9 a.m. and during that time we had about 160 some kids in the morning program across the district. Then with moving it up to 8 o’clock we see what the fallout is where we 20-some kids in service,” Hixson says.

As previously reported, the RALLY program is designed to pay for itself. But early morning enrollment at each of five schools ranges from two to six kids. Hixson says it takes 12 students for a RALLY session to be cost-effective. Only the downtown Harborview RALLY — which has 16 students — will be saved, because it breaks even.

He says eliminating the first hour at the other schools will help stem the loss.

“Right now we’re hjoping to get to a break-even status. Currently we’re losing about $11,000 a month,” Hixson says.

Hickson says it costs one-point-two million to one-point-three-million dollars a year to operate all the RALLY programs in the district, including summer sessions.

RALLY stands for Recreation, Arts, Learning and Leadership for Youth. It has before and after-school sessions for kindergarten through fifth graders.

No changes will be made in the program until January.

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