(KUTV) For hundreds of students at Monroe Elementary in West Valley City, the final bell doesn’t signal the end of the school day.
Almost a third of Monroe’s 650 students participate in the school’s 35 extracurricular activities, which include everything from tutoring and reading, to coding and science.
Thursday, the Trump administration announced budget cuts that could put an end to after school programs across the nation.
“It’s devastating. How can you abandon our children? They’re the future of America,” said Margaret Peterson, executive director of the Community Education Partnership of West Valley City, Inc.
In Utah, budget cuts would eliminate the 21st Century Community Learning Center program, which provides funding to 19 programs and would impact 5,000 students in Granite School District.
Elia Ramirez is just one of the parents whose child would be impacted by the cuts. Her daughter Angelia participates in four after school programs. Elia says she has seen huge changes in her daughter since she began participating in the programs.
“She reads more fluently, she decides to go to the library and get books. She gets very, very excited about reading,” Ramirez said.
Statistics show a 64 percent academic improvement in students who participate in after school programs.
“As a parent we like it because it gives us the extra time for our children to learn more,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez emphasized the importance of the after school programs for children whose parents don’t speak very much English. Ramirez said she “speaks Spanglish,” but appreciates the fact that her daughter can have even more help with her homework.
For Angelia, and her classmates who take advantage of the extracurriculars, the budget cuts could be devastating.
“Our kids love being in after school. They beg me to be in after school,” Sue Dickey, after school program coordinator said.
Peterson fears taking away after school programs could mean students don’t have the same opportunities to succeed later in life. “Kids will lose. Families will lose,” Peterson said.