Nonprofit to Run City’s Youth Programs

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At a time of government budget deficits, can youth-serving organizations run programs cheaper and easier than their local governments can? A California nonprofit just won a contract on the belief that it can.

The City Council of Pittsburg, Calif., is privatizing its recreation programs for youth in an effort to help alleviate a fiscal 2009-10 budget deficit of $6.2 million. The city’s revenues are estimated at $30 million for next fiscal year.

The city plans to enter a five-year contract with Craft Community Care Center, also known as the Success Through Self (STS) Academy, to run youth programs at three proposed sites. The city will pay STS $144,000 the first year, according to city council documents, with its contribution decreasing each subsequent year: from $100,000 to $60,000, then to $30,000, then to nothing in fiscal 2013-14. The city will continue to pay for utilities and building maintenance at the three sites.

The city approached STS Academy earlier this year about taking over all of the city-run youth services, said Jim Craft, executive director of STS Academy. The privatization should cut the city’s expenses by just over $74,000 the first year, based on expenditure figures in the current budget.

The nonprofit STS began working with the Pittsburg public schools in 2005, running a tutoring program for junior high school students in space leased from the city. In 2006, it began providing after-school programs in elementary schools, and tutoring and career training for high school students, Craft said.

STS took in $939,000 in revenue in 2007, according to its federal tax return. It has 92 employees and serves 1,200 children and youth during the school year, according to Craft.

Craft said that as the city’s subsidy decreases, he plans to fund the program through grants and fundraising.

Contact: STS Academy, (925) 252-9199,