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Pleasantville’s Panther Club Trims Wait List, Adds Staff

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The Panther Club after-school program has a much shorter wait list than it had in the fall when 50 elementary school students’ participation to take part in club activities was put on hold.

Currently, there are 38 students on the updated wait list.

At last week’s Pleasantville Village Board work session, Superintendent of Recreation Mike Newman said he was able to add 25 students from the list to the program for January. Another 25 students opted out of the club.

“Because people were not opting in for January, the numbers changed a little bit,” Newman said. “The need for staff wasn’t quite as severe as originally planned but we did bring on three additional staff.”

In the regular board session that followed, village trustees approved the hiring of another part-time recreation assistant effective next Monday.

Newman said the club’s most popular days are Tuesdays through Thursdays.

“Mondays are light and Fridays are always light,” he said. “We probably will not fill those days but it gives people options if they can’t get the days they want.”

Some parents were willing to give up their spot on the more popular days for those who really needed the program for their child.

“That speaks to the community we have here,” Newman noted.

This year the Panther Club had 40 kindergarteners, the largest enrollment it’s ever seen for that age. The kindergartners filled two separate groups.

Newman asked if the board would consider shortening the program by a half-hour, ending at 6 p.m. instead of 6:30 p.m.

“Kids are out of here by six o’clock,” he said. “If we closed at six it would give staff the opportunity to follow up on work and have a short staff meeting.”

Also discussed was eliminating the program for middle school students. This year one middle-schooler was enrolled in the Panther Club.

“A staff member has to pick up the student at the middle school and that’s wasting one staff member who could be covering 10 children,” Newman pointed out.

Last fall the long wait list coupled with technical snafus in connection with online enrollment caused an outpouring of frustration on the part of many working parents in Pleasantville.

The Panther Club was created when the JCC on Bear Ridge Road in Pleasantville closed in 2015, ending its after-school programs. The village stepped in and started the moderately-priced Panther Club as a temporary solution to after-school child care, but over the years it steadily gained popularity and is the main after-school program in the village.

 

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