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Snacks by Erik Peterson
JAN
12
2018

POLICY
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New Year, new budget, same federal spending quagmire

By Erik Peterson

In less than ten days, Congress will again face a deadline to address FY 2018 federal funding. The third continuing resolution (CR) passed by Congress in late December is scheduled to expire at midnight on January 19, 2018, and a way forward through the impasse has not yet emerged. While Congressional leadership from both parties and both chambers continue to meet with the administration to craft a new budget deal, the likelihood of a government shutdown later this month increases as every day goes by, and federal spending levels for a wide array of functions, including afterschool program support to local communities, remain uncertain. Additionally, the kick-off to the FY 2019 spending process is quickly approaching with the Trump administration expected to present their new budget proposal on or around February 5, 2018.

Several scenarios remain possible later this month:

  • A deal could be reached (see the main barriers to reaching a deal discussed below), securing topline funding levels and a final omnibus spending bill. A fourth CT would be needed, however, going into mid-to-late February to give appropriators enough time to write the omnibus bill.
  • No deal is reached, but enough agreement is found to pass another short-term CR to allow negotiations to continue.
  • No deal is reached and a government shutdown takes place until agreement can be found.
DEC
22
2017

POLICY
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The year in federal afterschool policy

By Erik Peterson

Federal afterschool policy in 2017 had ups and downs, and plenty ‘firsts.’ It was the first time a president proposed complete elimination of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative – the primary source of federal funding support for local school and community based afterschool and summer learning programs. However, 2017 also saw the largest advocacy push on record by afterschool advocates – with tens of thousands of Americans making the case for continued federal afterschool support. And the year saw a record level of funding for Community Learning Centers, providing access to programs for almost 2 million young people. 

21st Century Community Learning Centers

Early in the year both the president’s “skinny budget” and final FY2018 budget proposed the elimination of all funding for Community Learning Centers. The afterschool field’s response was rapid and powerful. Afterschool allies reached out to Congress with more than 79,400 calls and emails, energized supporters to turn out at town halls in their communities, and prompted more than 1,400 local, state, and national organizations to sign a letter in support of Community Learning Centers. Champions of the program on Capitol Hill showed strong support for Community Learning Centers as well, with 81 members of the House coming together across party lines and signing a letter spear headed by Reps. David Cicilline and Lou Barletta. In addition, a perfectly-timed National Afterschool Summit at University of Southern California put afterschool all over the news and social media including coverage on CNN and Extra with Mario Lopez. 

In a huge win for afterschool, the final appropriations bill for FY2017, passed in early May 2017, increased Community Learning Centers funding to $1.192 billion, a $25 million increase over the FY2016 level, and a record amount of funding for the program. The funds mean almost 2 million children in all 50 states will have access to quality, locally-run afterschool and summer learning programs. While funding for FY2018 is still uncertain as the country is operating under a continuing resolution that expires on December 22, 2017, support for Community Learning Centers in Congress remains strong.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress Federal Policy
NOV
27
2017

POLICY
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Continuing resolution or spending omnibus?: Afterschool federal funding update

By Erik Peterson

Dec. 22, 2017 Update: Congress passed a third continuing resolution prior to the Dec. 22nd deadline extending govt funding at current year levels (including 21st CCLC) until January 19th. 

Dec. 8, 2017 Update: The House and Senate both passed a stop gap spending measure last night that keeps the federal government open and funded until December 22. Congress plans to use the additional weeks to strike a spending deal that will pave the way for a third temporary continuing resolution that will last into 2018. A final omnibus spending bill is expected in early 2018 that will fund the government through September 30, 2018.

While the process continues, more than 500 local, state, and national organizations came together last month to send a letter to Appropriators calling for full funding for 21st CCLC that supports local afterschool programs.  

As November ends, Congress has just 12 days before the expiration of the continuing resolution that is currently funding the government on December 8. While there is little time left before this deadline, negotiations continue between House and Senate leadership from both parties with the goal of striking a deal that will raise defense and non-defense spending caps paving the way for a FY 2018 omnibus spending bill.    

Earlier this month Senate Appropriations Committee chair Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) issued an official statement regarding the committee’s responsibility to fund the government, urging leadership and the White House to make a spending deal as soon as possible. However there are a number of barriers preventing a deal, including final agreement on top level defense and non-defense spending levels, whether to include a bipartisan healthcare subsidy package, funding for the border wall, an agreement on DACA, and other issues.

If Congress does not reach a spending deal this week, they are likely to pass a short-term continuing resolution (CR), which would temporarily allow the government to remain open and operating at last year’s funding levels. Many members of Congress want to complete the FY 2018 spending package before the end of the calendar year, while other members – particularly members of the House Republican Study Committee – do not want to be pushed to vote on a final bill while also trying to pass a tax cut bill and another supplemental disaster relief bill by December 31, preferring that the next CR reach into the new year. Even without an extension, the present short-term CR could extend into late December or possibly into January or February, providing additional time to reach a deal. If Congress does not pass a temporary continuing resolution, the government will shut down.

If leadership can broker a spending deal, appropriators will then negotiate individual funding levels for each government program. 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) funding was set at $1.192 billion by the Senate earlier this fall; however the House has proposed $1.1 billion for Community Learning Centers. While final spending levels will most likely fall within that range, the lower level of $1.1 billion would mean almost 100,000 youth could lose access to programming.

Friends of afterschool can weigh in with Congress here about the importance of federal afterschool funding that provides support for local school and community based organizations that serve almost 1.8 million children.  

NOV
7
2017

POLICY
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What could the Tax Cut Bill mean for afterschool programs?

By Erik Peterson

On November 2 House Republicans released their proposed tax cut/tax reform package, called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This bill is on an aggressive timeline and could pass the House as soon as the week of November 13. The House Ways and Means Committee will mark up the bill beginning at noon on Monday, November 6. It is expected to take several days to complete the mark up.

The tax cut bill released by the Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) is based largely on the Trump Administration’s tax cut outline released earlier this fall. According to the Ways and Means Committee, “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will deliver real tax relief to Americans across the country – especially low- and middle-income Americans who have been struggling for far too long to earn a raise and get ahead.” Under the legislation, the authors state that a typical middle-income family of four, earning $59,000 (the median household income), will receive a $1,182 tax cut, which is about $22.73 a week or $3.24 a day.

There are several possible impacts of the tax cut bill on the afterschool field:

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learn more about: Congress Federal Funding Federal Policy
SEP
14
2017

POLICY
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$100 million win for afterschool as amendment passes House of Representatives

By Erik Peterson

Last night the House of Representatives voted 228 to 188 in support of the DeLauro/Lowey amendment (#161) to restore $100 million of the 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) afterschool and summer learning funding that had been cut in the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act (H.R. 3354). The vote sends a strong signal of bipartisan support for afterschool and summer learning programs as the appropriations process continues into the fall.

The amendment vote was the latest step in the long appropriations and spending process that began last spring when the president’s budget proposed elimination of Community Learning Centers afterschool funding. The inclusion of the amendment stands as a testament to the hard work of our field — advocates and allied organizations have delivered more than 78,600 calls and emails to Congress in support of federal funding for local afterschool and summer learning programs since March. Read Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant’s statement here.

SEP
8
2017

POLICY
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Policy update: What this week means for afterschool funding

By Erik Peterson

After being out of Washington for the month of August, the House and Senate returned this week with a full agenda including advancing the fiscal year 2018 (FY18) spending process. Both the Senate Appropriations Committee and the House of Representatives took actions this week that could impact federal support for afterschool and summer learning programs. Moreover, a Continuing Resolution passed extending current federal funding to December 8.

Senate appropriations

The Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee passed their FY18 spending bill on September 6, followed by the full Senate Appropriations Committee on September 7. The Senate’s LHHS spending bill funded 21st Century Community Learning Centers at the FY 17 level of $1.192 billion, rejecting the president’s proposed elimination of the program. For the second year in a row, the Senate appropriations subcommittee produced a bipartisan bill that provides leverage in negotiations with the House of Representatives. Read the Afterschool Alliance’s statement on the Senate Appropriations Committee’s strong support for afterschool and summer learning programs.

AUG
31
2017

LIGHTS ON
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How to bring advocacy to your Lights On Afterschool event

By Erik Peterson

With many of the nation’s students back in school and afterschool, it is time to start thinking about planning a Light On Afterschool event for the month of October. Lights On Afterschool is an excellent opportunity to show policymakers and elected officials, as well as parents and community members, what takes place in your program when the lights are on – and conversely what learning opportunities students miss out on in communities where the lights are off afterschool.

Here are a few ways to get the word out in support of afterschool programs at your Lights On Afterschool event:

AUG
3
2017

POLICY
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You are here: The policy road map to protecting afterschool funding

By Erik Peterson

With more than half the calendar year behind us and only two months left in the 2017 federal fiscal year, now is a great time to pause and reflect on the ongoing quest to protect and grow federal funding for afterschool and summer learning programs. Much has happened since the March 16 release of the Trump administration’s skinny budget which proposed to eliminate federal 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) funding for almost 1.6 million students—yet there is still a long way to go.

Making progress

The administration’s FY2018 skinny budget released in mid-March, and the subsequent full budget proposal released in late-May, both proposed to eliminate $1.1 billion in Community Learning Centers funding that allows local afterschool and summer learning providers in all 50 states to offer quality enrichment and academic programming to 1.6 million students in grades K through 12. The Administration justified the proposed elimination of the program by pointing to data from a 12 year old report with flawed methodology that questioned the effectiveness of the program.

The response to the proposed elimination was swift:

  • Since March 1: We've made approximately 71,500 points of contact with Congress -- including calls, emails, and letters
  • March 2017: Multiple summaries of recent Community Learning Centers afterschool evaluations were published, showing widespread positive outcomes in classroom attendance, student behavior, grades and academics, and engagement.
  • Since April 6: At dozens of site visits around the country, members of Congress or their staff were able to meet students, parents, and program staff and see first-hand the impact of Community Learning Centers funded programs
  • April 10: Bipartisan Dear Colleague Letters circulate in Congress and gain signatures from more than 80 Representatives and more than 30 Senators. On the same day, an organizational support letter signed by 1,400 groups and a second support letter signed by 130 public health organizations are released.
  • June 6: During the Afterschool for All Challenge, advocates held more than 250 in-person meetings on Capitol Hill with policymakers.
  • June 28: Multiple briefings are held for Congressional staff, featuring program providers, local elected officials, students and more.

A tremendous thank you to all of the parents, advocates, friends of afterschool, national afterschool and summer learning providers, and supporters that joined together to reach out directly and through stakeholders to provide research and examples of the effectiveness of Community Learning Centers-funded programs. We’ve also seen a flood of media outreach in national and local press.

So... where do we go from here?