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& COFFEE TALK Laurel Mill Playhouse revives eclectic Neil Simon comedy ‘45 Seconds from Broadway.’ B-3 The Gazette SERVING NORTHERN AND CENTRAL PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY COMMUNITIES DAILY UPDATES ONLINE Thursday, January 16, 2014 25 cents Before-, after-care costs to rise in July School board also approves increase in fees for non-county residents n BY JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU STAFF WRITER The cost of the before- and after-care program in Prince George’s County Public Schools will be going up beginning July 1. School system CEO Kevin Maxwell said the program, which provides care for about 2,900 students, was designed to be self-supporting, rather than relying on funds from the school system. “Costs do increase periodically, and in our estimate, we need to increase the rate to maintain its selfsufficient status,” said Thomas E. Sheeran, the school system’s acting chief financial officer. The school board approved the increases, as well as a tuition increase for out-of-county students, PHOTOS BY TOM FEDOR/THE GAZETTE n HELPS COMFORT YOUNG PATIENTS Members say rushed process through last cycle prompted proposal n Classmate inspires second-graders to raise money for stuffed animals BY JAMIE See TUITION, Page A-8 Hyattsville mulls stripping mayor of budget authority Second-grade students at Hyattsville Elementary School,,such as Esmerelda Aleman and Antony Ramos (right), count money they collected in papier-mâché piggy banks (shown below). The money will be donated to Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. ‘Pig project’ 8-0 with three abstentions during its Jan. 9 afternoon meeting. The registration fee will increase from $10 to $25 per child, and tuition will increase from $145 to $155 biweekly, effective July 1. Maxwell said registration fees for the before- and after-school program have not been increased since the program’s inception in 1986, and tuition was last increased in 2010. The increases are expected to provide an additional $537,500 to the program’s budget, according to school system documents, which Maxwell said is needed to keep the program self sufficient. The before- and after-school extended learning program operates out of 59 of the county’s 122 elementary schools. Board member Edward Burroughs (Dist. 8) asked if the school system could help fund the increase. BY JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU STAFF WRITER ANFENSON-COMEAU To prevent a repeat of last budget cycle when the city was forced to dip into its reserve fund to fill a $1 million deficit, Hyattsville council members say they are considering amending their charter to strip the mayor of his budgetary oversight. Two charter amendments, which would redefine the role of the treasurer and city administrator, are to be voted on during the council’s Tuesday evening meeting. Last year, the council did not receive a budget until late May. Council members said they felt rushed STAFF WRITER Second-graders at Hyattsville Elementary broke into their piggy banks this month to help bring a little cheer to patients at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., thanks to a classmate. “I came up with the idea that we should use the money to buy stuffed animals for Children’s hospital because my brother, Nick — he’s been there four times to get surgery for his tonsils, and they gave him a stuffed animal, and it made him feel better,” said second-grader Ryan Kidwell. See PIG, Page A-8 into making budget decisions that resulted in the city approving an unbalanced budget days before the deadline. “Last year’s budget process was horrific,” said Councilman Patrick Paschall (Ward 3). “It lacked any level of process.” Council President Candace Hollingsworth (Ward 1) said under the current charter, the deadline for submitting the budget is 32 days before the beginning of the new fiscal year, which begins July 1. “That’s not enough time, especially when you have six new council members in an election year,” Hollingsworth said. “We want all council members to have an opportunity to review the budget document, engage with staff, and have See HYATTSVILLE, Page A-8 Shelters face challenges in severe weather n Some locations suffered from overcrowding BY EMILIE EASTMAN STAFF WRITER Record freezing temperatures in early January led to crowding at some Prince George’s County homeless shelters and compelled others to offer longer hours of service, officials said. “We have had an expanded range of individuals calling into the hotline [this year] just in relation to the severe temperatures,“ said Laila Riazi, director of development for Community Crisis Services Inc., a nonprofit that handles NEWS A LITTLE EXTRA Enrichment program classes set Buck Lodge Middle School apart. A-4 Prince George’s County’s homeless shelter placements. She said her agency processed 40,000 calls through the county’s Homeless Hotline last year and directed around 230 individuals to shelters, but the numbers are running much higher this year based on week-by-week comparisons. The Warm Nights program was full after the first week of operation in November and was operating at 40 percent over capacity the second week, Riazi said. The program increased capacity by opening two church locations per week, but is still slightly over capacity, she said. During busy nights, Community Crisis calls on church congregations to organize extra meals and rearrange shelter rooms to accommodate additional guests, Riazi said, and Community Crisis managers help answer calls to the Homeless Hotline. “We never turn anyone away,” she said. “We work based upon what the situation is. It’s all about meeting the needs of our callers and our guests.” Winter Shelter, an overnight program for homeless people hosted by Laurel churches on a rotating basis, extended its hours during the coldest nights. “Normally the shelter opens at 7 GREG DOHLER/THE GAZETTE Carmen Sare (left) and Terance Pett have dinner Monday at the Bethany Community Church in Laurel as part of the Winter Haven program for the homeless. See SHELTERS, Page A-8 SPORTS EVERYBODY IN THE POOL Northwestern sees dramatic increase in swimmers; times start to fall. A-9 Automotive B-9 Calendar A-2 Classified B-7 Community News A-3 Entertainment B-1 Opinion A-9 Sports A-1 Please RECYCLE Check out our Services Directory ADVERTISING INSIDE B SECTION 1906227

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