Dubois School Board mulling future of Lights On program with attendance down due to change at Boys and Girls Club

    The Dubois School District is contemplating the future of its Lights On after-school program due to a recent decrease in attendance.

    Fewer students have been using the Lights On program since the local Boys and Girls Club started accepting elementary-aged children at the end of 2023, Superintendent Steve Splichal told the Dubois School Board during a work session this week.

    He shared statistics from the month of May showing average daily attendance for Lights On at less than 14 students.

    h/t Fremont County School District 2

    Those numbers are up from earlier in the spring, when Splichal said the Lights On program served fewer than 11 students per day on average.

    For comparison, he said, an average of up to 19 students used Lights On each day before the Boys and Girls Club started accepting elementary-aged children in December.

    “When Boys and Girls Club changed that participation, it roughly cut (Lights On) in half,” he said, asking the board to be prepared to offer “some direction” on the situation during their regular meeting later this month.

    “Do we mothball that program at the start of the school year and allow those kids to go to Boys and Girls Club?” Splichal asked. “Do we keep it open? Do we reevaluate … at some point down the road?


    “I’ll make a recommendation at the time of the June meeting, then you guys can have some time (for) discussion and then a possible action item for you to consider.”

    The district will still offer its regular summer school programming this year regardless of any decisions made this month, he noted, but “we have to set our sights on what’s to occur starting in August.”

    Parent feedback

    Splichal said he hasn’t surveyed or communicated with local families about the potential for Lights On to close yet, but one parent – who said she uses both Lights On and the Boys and Girls Club – spoke during this week’s board meeting to say she would “miss” the school-based program if it closed, because it offers a different level of “structure” for younger students who might prefer more “regularity.”


    Board members agreed with those comments, but they also expressed support for the Boys and Girls Club, which they said might benefit from increased funding resulting from an uptick in attendance if Lights On were to shut down.

    “It really is about two programs competing for a similar pool of kids, and does it do justice for us to do that to either one of the programs,” Splichal said.

    He added that, if “something were to happen” to the Boys and Girls Club in the future, the district could re-start the Lights On program “fairly easily (in) a reasonable amount of time.”


    The Boys and Girls Club has the capacity to handle 14 more students per day, he noted, and the school employees who currently run the Lights On program would continue working for the district in other capacities if Lights On shut down.

    For more information, call Fremont County School District 2 at (307) 455-5545.


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