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Summer Program Cuts Will Affect Thousands Of DCPS Students

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In order to close a $188 million dollar budget shortfall in 2011, summer youth programs have been cut. Nonprofit leaders estimate as many as 15,000 students will not have summer activities they would have had in the past.

Funding for what are called "enrichment activities," including camps and field trips has been reduced, as well as the number of spots available in summer school and the District's summer jobs program.

Ram Uppuluri, who heads the D.C. Alliance of Youth Advocates, says the cuts can create an ideal situation for the city's young people to get into trouble.

"In the absence of anything positive, how can we be surprised if young people choose to be engaged in negative activity?" he says. "It's not good for young people to be without structured meaningful activities."

Alfred Durham, Assistant Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department, says the police department has added spots to some of the programs they run for approximately 700 children during the summer, including a teen camp and a junior police academy.

But he understands the concern from residents about a possible rise in crime as a result of the lack of programming. In response, the police department is restructuring its staffing to keep officers on the beat.

"Instead of sending our members for training sitting in a classroom we will having them on the streets," he says.

This means approximately 500 officers who would have taken professional development will have to wait until after summer, says Durham.

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