Greater Maple Valley Community Center drops afterschool and Dial-a-Ride programs

Citing an erosion of funding over the years, the Greater Maple Valley Community Center announced Friday that the Southeast Regional Shuttle's Dial-a-Ride program will be eliminated, and that the youth afterschool program will be suspended effective Sept. 30.

According to a press release, 60% of the Community Center’s funding is generated through government and corporate/foundation grants. The remainder comes from a combination of United Way, private contributions, fundraising and minimal program fees. King County cut $40,000 from its Youth Program in 2012 and the Washington State Department of Transportation cut $37,500 from the SRS program in 2013. On top of that, corporate and foundation funding has "declined significantly" because donors have not fully recovered from the recession.

"The bottom line is that since 2007 the Community Center has drawn upon our operating reserves in order to continue our programming without interruption," wrote Mark Pursley, the Center's Executive Director, in a press release. "We cannot continue this practice and keep our doors open. As with most human service agencies, nearly (two-thirds) of our expenses are personnel related. Therefore, the only way to bring our budget into balance is through a reduction in staffing. This is similar to the situation that the organization faced last year as the Toddler Time program was impacted by the layoff of that program’s director."

The press release continues that the budgetary analysis "clearly shows" that more tough decisions regarding the Center's future are needed.

"These decisions revolve around the need to bring our staffing to a level that is consistent with our declining revenue stream and will result in two significant changes in our basic programming," Pursley wrote.

Although the Dial-a-Ride program will be cut Sept. 30, the Center said it will maintain its Community Shuttle and volunteer driver programs.

"Reduced WSDOT funding coupled with the expectation of additional cuts (or even the elimination of all funding) in our upcoming contract negotiations led to this decision," Pursley wrote. "Current clients, mostly seniors, will be provided with as many resources as possible to help them overcome the loss of this service."

The afterschool program will be lost mainly because there is no dedicated funding for this staffing-intensive program. The Center said it will continue to offer drug, alcohol and tobacco abuse and domestic violence prevention oriented programming in the schools.

The Youth Council leadership group and youth targeted special events will also continue on a regular basis.

"We have already had conversations with the Tahoma School District to help direct those impacted youth toward other afterschool activities," Pursley wrote.


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