Homework help program in Nassau County going away

Communities in Schools cannot continue after this summer due to lack of funding

By Ashley Spicer - Reporter, anchor

NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. - A longtime after-school tutoring and homework help program in Nassau County will be going away shortly after the end of this year school year.

The program called Community in Schools, which has been around for 25 years within the county, cannot continue after this summer because of a lack of funding. 

Yulee Middle School is one of the middle schools where students will be affected by the loss of Community in Schools, which has been a resource for children to get extra help beyond the normal classroom hours. But the organization said it doesn't have enough money to continue after this summer.

Yulee Middle School parents told News4Jax they are disappointed to see Communities in Schools close.

"That's tragic. It really is," Jessica Byers said. "We have, as a family, had to go to an outside tutor and it’s expensive, sad for the families that cannot afford it and now this program is unavailable to them. It's sad."

Lisa Plouffe added: "My son had ups and downs with his grades and some subjects, so I would hope they would maybe work something out and it will work out for them."

Over the past years, Communities in Schools downsized from helping high schoolers and middle schoolers, to just middle schoolers. It even reduced its staff to just one paid member, who has now resigned. 

The program gets money from the school district, grants and the United Way, but it’s just not enough to keep the organization operating.

"I'm very disappointed, but I do understand there is a limited amount of money," said Communities in Schools Board Chair Tammi Bach. 

The Nassau County School District is made up of mostly A-rated schools. Since its schools aren’t struggling, it doesn’t receive the same amount of funding like other districts.

The program may focus on school work, but it also helps students and their families in other ways.

"We prided ourselves in helping the whole family find resources -- not just students, making sure they graduate and do well in school -- but that if family members needed counseling or something we could direct them to those resources," Bach said.

The program will be around for summer school students, but after that, it will dissolve unless it gets about $100,000 worth of donations to stay afloat another year.

Since Communities in Schools will no longer be an option for students looking for help, News4Jax was told the local Boys and Girls Club offers free homework help, but the people helping are staff members, not certified teachers. 

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