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'It's really pricey' | Parents react to the latest after-school program for Norfolk Public Schools

Norfolk officials presented its latest "Schools Out Afternoon Recreation" program to the city council for this school year, but it comes at a price.

NORFOLK, Va. — School is back in session, which means children across Hampton Roads are depending on after-school programs. 

Norfolk City Recreation, Parks & Open Space (RPOS), along with Norfolk City Council, is presenting a new program called the "Schools Out Afternoon Recreation" or S.O.A.R. 

It aims to give students a place to engage in physical and social activities, along with educational sessions, while their parents are still at work.

The presentation says the program's fee would cost $80 per month for sixth through eighth-grade students. It would cost even more for kindergarten through fifth-grade students at $160 per month.

The recreation centers participating in this program include:

  • Bayview Recreation Center
  • Berkley Community Center
  • Crossroads Community Center
  • Fairlawn Recreation Center
  • Huntersville Community Center
  • Norview Community Center
  • Sherwood Forest Community Center 
  • Tarrallton Community Center
  • Titustown Recreation Center

For mother of two, Natasha Boone, she says she looked into S.O.A.R. as an option for her children, but she says the out-of-pocket costs are too high.

"I feel like the prices are ridiculous at a time like this when child care is needed and it's one of the big aspects of us returning to work and the world opening back up, it's something we need," said Boone.

A working, single mother with a child on the autism spectrum, she says she already faces many challenges. She feels these prices are deterring her from giving her children the proper care they need.

"At the end of the day, it's a pandemic and some of us need that money for other things, like putting food on the table," said Boone.

Another frustration Boone expressed is the lack of programs available for students before the start of the school day, especially for parents who work early hours. RPOS said it is not offering before-school hours due to a staffing shortage.

Click here to register or find out more about the program.

Editor's note: The video above is on file from Sept. 6, 2021.

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