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County Votes To Cut After-School Programs at Recreation Centers

The Hillsborough County Commissioners voted July 27 to cut after-school programs at county recreation centers. What that means for parents dependent on programs at the Brandon Recreation Center remains to be seen, but they’ll need to know soon.

Back-to-school planning has taken on an added urgency for parents who for years have depended on after-school programs at local recreation centers.

The Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners voted 4-3 at a budget reconciliation meeting July 27 to close a majority of recreation centers and to abandon all after-school programming.

The Brandon Recreation Center on East Sadie Street is one of the 10-11 centers that will remain open, according to the plan adopted as proposed by the Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department.

The vote leaves some parents scrambling to find after-school care for their kids with schools reopening in less than a month.

Classes begin Aug. 23.

Meanwhile, Marty Bradley, who has worked at the Brandon Recreation Center for decades, is poised to answer questions about what’s next once that determination has been made.

“They have to give us the guidance and the go-ahead to move forward one way or another so we can let parents know what they can count on for out-of-school programming at the Brandon Recreation Center,” she said.

“There’s a lot of creative things we can do, a lot of creative programming we can offer, but until we know what we can do with the resources available we will have to wait to make that determination."

The clock, indeed, is ticking.

"Parents will need to know soon,” Bradley agreed. "School starts in less than a month.”

The spending cuts approved by commissioners July 27 call for cutting 110 recreation positions and for closing 25 to 30 recreation centers.

Overall, about one in four positions for the department overall will be cut.

“First and foremost, we’re concerned about the kids,” Bradley said. “A lot of our parents are middle- to low-income, and especially so in this economy. They need to be sure their kids are somewhere in activities that are supervised.”

RELATED COVERAGE:

Michelle July 28, 2011 at 06:26 PM
Spoke to parks and rec today, at the main office. I was advised that there will be no activity until at least October. They are still working on plans. When asked what are you doing with the staff I was advised they will be working on interviewing staff to determine who will do what and consoliating the area park to the regional ones. Marty Bradley is awsome and is trying to do what is right for the kids. If those down town would un-tie her hands. Oh and spoke to HOST today. The individual that told the commisioners that the staff of host is all in college with 60 hours of classes or college grads is wrong. At least on person has the back ground most of the rest are high school Junor or Seniors that are in OJT. Also was told that the most outside time the kids get is 60 minutes, but most days it is 30 minutes. And we wonder why our youth are over weight. Love how a little research is all it takes to get the truth. Come on people lets make sure they hear our voices in November. GET OUT AND VOTE THEM OUT OF OFFICE.
Mike Salinero October 28, 2011 at 04:12 PM
Hi. I'm a reporter for the Tampa Tribune. I'd like to speak to a parent who had kids in county after-school, but had to find other after-school care when the county program was in limbo. Thanks, Mike Salinero, 259-8303

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