PITTSBURG -- It's possible the East County Boys & Girls Club could reopen in time to offer summer programs.
That new development was shared by board members at a Monday night meeting attended by more than 30 parents at the club on Stoneman Avenue to discuss the 67-year-old club's closure.
Financial difficulties have led to the closure, including the loss of a $419,320 Pittsburg Unified School District contract for the 2013-14 school year to provide free before- and after-school services for junior high students. Declining community support was also cited as a reason for the closing that has left the parents of about 50 children searching for new child care arrangements.
Parents who paid $90 a month for their children to attend after-school programs that included tutoring and recreation and arts activities were notified April 18 of the closure effective at the end of the month. Seven employees are losing their jobs.
Several parents said they were left in a tough spot when they heard the club was closing.
"We have a lot of parents scrambling and racing around. Where are we going to place our kids?" said Gary Moore, whose two boys attended after-school programs at the club. "It was very safe. I knew where my kids were."
At the meeting, parents were provided with a list of child care resources.
Earlier this month, the club's nonprofit status was revoked as a result of not filing income taxes for three years. The club has an active charter and is seeking to have its nonprofit status restored after getting current with the tax returns in January.
Joel Moreno, president of the club's board of directors, told parents that the club should have an answer June 1 on its application to regain its nonprofit status, which would allow it to seek funding donations and grants.
Lack of funds was the reason for getting behind on the tax returns, he said.
The club is also looking into a collaboration with the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Diablo Valley to provide the summer program starting June 15 if it does reopen. "Our No. 1 goal is to take care of the kids in the community," he said.
The club has been in debt since 2009, he said. "When funding did not come through, we just became more and more in debt," Moreno said.
One solution that is off the table is raising monthly fees, said Moreno.
His brother, Heliodoro Moreno Jr., said: "Our goal (is) to reopen as soon as possible with a model for a club that is sustainable. ... We need sustainable support to move forward."
The East County Boys & Girls Club has operated in Pittsburg since 1947, first at a location on West Eighth Street off Montezuma Street. When fire destroyed that building in 1985, community donations made it possible to build the current facility which opened in 1992.
Five years ago, the club amended a lease agreement with Pittsburg Unified and transferred ownership of the Stoneman building to the district for its adult education center. The district leased back the clubhouse at a dollar at year to the club through 2032.
Contact Eve Mitchell at 925-779-7189. Follow her on Twitter.com/EastCounty_Girl.