Nampa volunteers raise money for after-school buses


by Stephanie Zepelin

Posted on January 17, 2013 at 8:52 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 13 at 2:04 PM

NAMPA -- The Nampa School District budget saga continues, with cuts on busing to after-school programs. Recent cuts include funding for the buses that take kids to after-school activities around Nampa.

Some say these cuts are making it harder for parents to get kids to the Nampa Recreation Center, Salvation Army, and Boys and Girls Club.

On average, 90 kids a day spend their afternoons at the Nampa Recreation Center after-school program 'Kids in Action.'

"We try to stay true to our name, and we keep those kids active," said Recreation Center Director, Cody Swander. "We like to keep them busy with activities, court games, rock climbing, swimming."

Swander believes in what the does for the kids.

"I feel like it's a preventative measure in keeping down crime, keeping down mischief that might happen at home because of unattended children," he said.

Transportation to after-school programs is the latest victim of the Nampa School District's multi-million dollar budget shortfall. One solution Swander is left with is talking to the city council about raising the fees for the program.

"Increasing fees always squeezes kids out, and that's not what we want to do," Swander said. "Our goal here is to keep fees as low as absolutely possible, and unfortunately the busing situation is something that has to be paid," Swander said.

However, the Nampa Firefighters' Union and Police Union are now helping organize fundraising efforts to pay for busing for the rest of this school year.

"We feel it's really important to try to spearhead a fundraising effort to get busing to these programs, because if the kids go home after school, it could be an unsafe environment, " said Nampa Firefighters' Local 804 Vice President, Shaun Laughlin.

Both groups have given $1,000 to the busing effort so far. However, Laughlin said after-school busing for the rest of this half of the school year will cost $45,000.

"This is a big problem, but we need to really understand that this is our problem; this is community's problem, and it's going to take the community to get together to help solve this problem," said Laughlin.

If you would like to help, the Nampa Boys and Girls club is the collection point for donations. Those donations will be tax-deductible.

The Nampa School District just approved a school levy for the March ballot. If passed, that levy would help restore transportation to after school activities.