NORWAY — ClubRowe will continue this year with reduced numbers of students despite concern by its director that the program has lost some space at the Guy E. Rowe Elementary School.

“We are in a crisis to continue to keep running it,” said ClubRowe Director Stacey LaFlamme of the nonprofit enrichment program for children in grades kindergarten through six. Children qualify for ClubRowe if they are enrolled in Rowe Elementary School or visit the town of Norway during the summer.

It was started seven years ago with a 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant that lasted for five years. For the past two years, the club has become an independent entity, surviving on donations and $55 a week fees ($95 during school vacation) while maintaining a partnership with the school district. LaFlamme said the club’s savings have all been depleted.

 LaFlamme said the program has lost room at the Rowe School forcing a reduction of the program openings from 66 to 20 students. If a recently purchased modular can be outfitted this year, LaFlamme said another 15 children may be able to attend.

Selectmen recently expressed concern after receiving a letter from LaFlamme asking for financial support.

In a letter written to Town Manager David Holt earlier this month and reviewed by the Board of Selectmen at its Aug. 20 meeting, LaFlamme asked the Board to help fund a modular classroom and other items totalling about $20,000 to avoid a reduction of club enrollment by about 60 percent and cuts to the four full-time staff members and one part-timer.

“The School District has a great opportunity to start a pre-kindergarten program this fall,” wrote LaFlamme in her letter. “Unfortunately this means we lose the space we have been able to use. To avoid having to reduce our enrollment from 62 to 25 students and from cutting staff, we need to purchase a $16,900 modular classroom from Schiavi Leasing Corp. as soon as possible.”

She said the program could have shut down entirely if support from organizations, such as Norway Savings Bank, Paris Farmers Union and an anonymous donation hadn’t been received recently to purchase the modular. LaFlamme said she is asking Norway to provide $5,000 so they can do some ancillary work, such as fire protection, bathrooms, etc. to be able to use the modular.

She outlined a host of expenses that included the $16,900 modular purchase and another $10,000 in other items such as heaters and amenities to meet the mandates of the American With Disabilities Act.

LaFlamme said the program lost a second classroom and the Annex at the school in June due to an expanded preschool program and they were told they would have to vacate the existing space by June of 2011.

Guy E. Rowe Principal George Sincerbeaux said Thursday there was no question that the club would still have space within the school during the 2010-11 school year.

“They have a room,” he said. He added that in addition to the current agreement, it could be expanded for another school year depending on how the new preschool program works out. Rowe School is one of three in the Oxford Hills School District that are hosting new preschool programs this year for 4-year olds.

While Norway selectmen agreed they would like to help the program, board members said there simply was no money in the budget to do so. “I’d hate to see them lose the programs and if it really comes down to it, I guess they could come to town meeting (and ask voters for the money),” Selectman Russ Newcomb said.

Chairman Irene Millett said she was “hesitant” to do anything until they had more information.

LaFlamme did not appear at the board meeting to explain her request but said Thursday that if had she been asked, she would have attended.

LaFlamme said she has been asked about setting up another club in Paris in the future.

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