"Blue Ribbon Panel" Discusses Solutions for Lack of After School Programs in Panama City

PANAMA CITY, Fla. - In July 2017, Bay District Schools and the city of Panama City created the "Blue Ribbon Panel." It consists of a group of 15 people tasked to improve student success in Panama City.

Panama City is home to almost 17,000 Bay District School students.

"We have an number of children in the city who don't have anything to do when they leave the school," said Chair of Bay District School Board Ginger Littleton. 

The Blue Ribbon Panel presented the city a report about the student's after school involvement. They surveyed more than 630 parents and guardians about their child's participation in out of school activities, sports, and clubs. 67 percent said their child does not participate in an after school programs largely due to transportation and cost barriers. The panel recommends the city hire someone to oversee programs for children after school. 

"We want the city of Panama City to be a buzz with things for kids and families to do," said Littleton.

Littleton said there are many school gyms, fields, and classrooms that are rarely used after school hours. 

"We are totally open to giving our facilities in their off use time to the city for city recreational use activities, we would love that," said Littleton. 

Panama City is exploring the option of hiring a program director for their leisure services department.  The district and the city also plans to work on starting a pilot program in an elementary school. 

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