By Ismael Angulo & Xylenn Nevarez
Pueblo High School’s 21st Century Community Learning Center, also known as CCLC, has been a five-year program helping students excel in their school work and to catch up with their credits. However, the program had its budget cut from $140,000 to $100,000 this year and next year. This is year five, and Pueblo has to reapply next year for another five-year cycle to fund the program with $100,000.
Ms. Mary Wallace, the coordinator of the program, said, “It’s [the budget cuts are] very difficult, and all of it comes out of instruction, but Pueblo got lucky this year because we got an enhancement grant to put in a maker space.”
The enhancement grant will cover the budget cut, boosting the program’s budget back up to $140,000.
Wallace said, “The students would not have seen as many classes offered, and we wouldn’t have as many tutors. Last year we had 22 employees, and we spent every dime of our budget on those 22 employees.”
She added that losing that money from a student’s perspective would prompt a decrease in grades and G.P.A rates among the students in the program since less activities would be offered.
The program has had a great impact on students.
Senior Desiree Martin is currently making up her freshman credits for English and Algebra 1.
“During my freshman year, I struggled a lot,” Martin said. “The CCLC program is helping me to graduate in the spring. I can’t believe that this program may not exist in the future. Even if there are budget cuts, it’s going to affect a lot of our students at Pueblo. CCLC is the perfect opportunity to catch up with credits- especially for us seniors.”
Michael Rodriguez, a senior who is also in the CCLC program, said, “I’m so relieved that I have the extra time and help I didn’t have in class. This program has allowed me to take my time and understand the content.”
Wallace wants students to know that they can still enroll in the CCLC program. The program does not have a cap regarding the number of students enrolled.
“Grades 9 and 10 are our primary focus,” Wallace said, “We do not have a limit, we have a goal, and we need to have 120 students who attend at least 30 days or more.”
Wallace wants to ensure that the program will continue successfully after she decides to retire. She said, “It’s important for me to teach another person how to apply for the grant and take over as the new CCLC coordinator so that the program can carry on.”