Some West Intergenerational fees to rise in ‘07

       Some fees at the West Intergenerational Center will increase next year, following a vote by the Colorado Springs City Council in November.
       Affected will be the early-childhood programs, called Building Blocks and Summer Blocks, and the After School Drop-In program.
       Center Director E.D. Rucker said that program users are still getting an excellent deal, and help continues to be available for those who have trouble paying.
       The per-person increases will be as follows:
  • Summer Blocks (Tuesday and Thursday) - from $39 to $50.
  • Summer Blocks (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) - from $65 to $70.
  • Building Blocks (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) - from $63 to $70.
  • After School Drop-In - from $1.50 to $1.70 a day.
           The programs are overseen by the Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department, which recommended the West increases - as well as several elsewhere in the community - to City Council.
           Not all West's program fees went up. Unchanged are the per-person costs of $2 for Teen Nights, $35 for a spring break program and $186 for the Summer Quest program.
           The programs getting fee hikes needed additional revenue under a city policy that city-run activities, as much as possible, should pay for themselves. Based on studies comparing program cost and income, “we found we were at cost or near cost (on these programs),” Rucker explained . “It's been a long time since we've had increases in our fees and charges.”
           He added that, even now, individuals only pay 45 percent of the actual cost of youth programs, with the city covering the rest. “You would be amazed at what the private industry charges,” Rucker said. “You would be shell-shocked.”
           The early-childhood “block” programs prepare preschoolers for kindergarten through development of language, physical and social skills. In the Drop-In program, middle-school students get help with their homework after school, and when they're done they can play games.
           Rucker added the information that any family that can't afford the cost of programs should contact the center and ask for a cost reduction. City Parks regularly “eats” such discounts, but does so to meet the citywide directive of providing recreation for youth. “Very few people abuse the system,” Rucker pointed out. “In 25 years with the city, I can't name five situations for you where people purposely tried to undercut the city. It's kind of cool. I don't know if people recognize that.”

    Westside Pioneer article