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Mayor Sheila Enyart said Friday afternoon that the city plans to close the Challenger Learning Center on Feb. 28.
The city is working to shift missions planned for later in the year to February, she said.
Enyart said the decision to close CLC was not an easy one, but cutbacks in revenue and the already existing burdens in the budget have led the city to take a hard look at their expenses.
“When it’s a choice between a luxury item and a necessity, the necessity items outweigh the luxuries,” she said.
Enyart said the center is “near and dear” to many within Radcliff, and the decision is disappointing.
Chance Fox, chief financial officer for the city of Radcliff, said the city has struggled to balance the budget for the past two years, and the city is analyzing operational costs across the board.
The city budgeted nearly $450,000 for CLC in the current fiscal year, with more than $350,000 of that total budgeted from the city’s general fund.
Student missions have been on the downslide at the center. The city budgeted $30,500 in projected revenue from the missions this fiscal year, down from the budgeted $70,000 last year, Fox said. The number of scheduled field trips was also down from about 154 last year to around 50 this year. Fox said the missions were the “heart” of the center’s revenue.
Both Enyart and Fox said the city has looked into alternative avenues for revenue and funding, but are still bearing most of the funding burden.
“The money just isn’t there,” Enyart said, referring to the city’s budget.
She said the city probably shouldn’t have been in the education business to begin with.
“We gave it our best shot,” she said.