Nashville facing after school program shortage

 

Dr. Tara Huss is a Nashville pediatrician.

She's talked to a lot of parents who all said: "the struggle is real."

"I just don't think parents know what's out there, and if it is out there, they struggle to get a spot," said Huss.

At Eakin Elementary they have about 300 students but only about 100 after school care spots.

"Just because there's a spot for you at school does not mean there's a spot for you in aftercare," said Metro Councilman Freddie O'Connell.

O'Connell's daughter is about to be on the waitlist for the third year in a row.

O'Connell has had to stop working full time and start working part-time instead.

"It became unsustainable for our family," said O'Connell.

A spokesperson for Metro Schools said more than 80 schools have after-school programs.

The number of spots at each program depends on capacity, funding, staff, and transportation needs.

They also said expansion opportunities are possible with more community partner support.

Meanwhile, O'Connell said he's having to consider private school.

"If we're struggling to do that, I can't even imagine the people who are on those third shifts, or who are one parent with multiple children or split custody, you name it," said O'Connell.

Out of the aftercare programs Metro does offer, seven are run through grants. The others are operated through outside companies.

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Carley Gordon joined the News4 team as a reporter in 2009.

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