With the Improving Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act of 2016 unanimously passing the Senate Agriculture Committee last month, the process of reauthorizing the federal child nutrition programs is well under way. The bill, which is expected to head to the Senate floor sometime this spring, would impact the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Child and Adult Care Feeding Program (CACFP) At-Risk Afterschool Meals. At the same time President Obama recently announced a new Administration initiative calling for major investments in preventing child hunger.
The bipartisan child nutrition reauthorization bill, crafted by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), includes a number of provisions of interest to afterschool and summer learning providers, including:
Streamlining summer and afterschool meal coordination, which will allow afterschool meal sites to choose to operate year-round through the Summer Food Service Program. This will allow sponsors to operate one program rather than two, and significantly reduce duplicative paperwork and confusing administrative rules protecting the new school meal nutrition standards that are improving our children’s health and the school nutrition environment. The Afterschool Alliance had strongly recommended such a provision. The streamlining provision is phased in over time.
This morning, the Senate Agriculture Committee marks up the Improving Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act of 2016, which would reauthorize the federal child nutrition programs, including the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Child and Adult Care Feeding Program (CACFP) At-Risk Afterschool Meals.
The newly proposed bipartisan bill, crafted by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), includes a compromise on school lunch nutrition standards as well as changes to the way school lunch applications are verified. From an afterschool and summer learning perspective, the bill does the following:
With the passage late last year of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), many in the afterschool field have been asking about the impact of the new law on afterschool programs and the children served by programs providers. Join the Afterschool Alliance and a number of partner organizations for a webinar on January 20th when we seek to answer the question “what does ESSA mean for afterschool and summer learning program providers?”
This overview webinar seeks to break down what the new law says regarding funding and policy for afterschool and summer learning programs, whether through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative, STEM afterschool provisions, full service community schools, or other programs. This introductory webinar will be the first in a series of five webinars to be held in the coming months that will go into depth on a variety of programs and topics in ESSA relevant to afterschool programs and providers. Bring your questions and join us on January 20, 2016, from 1PM ET – 2 PM ET. Register here.
UPDATE: Today the House and Senate passed the FY2016 omnibus spending bill that was unveiled earlier this week. With the bill having passed by bipartisan majority votes in both chambers, the President is expected to sign the measure into law shortly. The passage of the bill means the proposed increases to afterschool funding outlined below will go into effect. The Afterschool Alliance issued a statement on the spending bill today as well.
ORIGINAL POST (Dec. 16):
Last night House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and House leaders unveiled a FY16 omnibus spending bill that will fund the government through the current fiscal year, which ends on September 30, 2016. There are several more steps before both houses of Congress send this budget to the President, but work is expected to be completed on the next ten days. A complementary tax extender bill was also unveiled early this morning and the two bills will be linked as they make their way through Congress.
The trillion-dollar government spending bill was made possible by the increased spending caps negotiated as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. The omnibus includes funding increases for education, health and human services, child care, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and other key programs that directly contribute to the high-quality afterschool and summer learning programs millions of young people rely on.
The Department of Education was funded at $71.7 billion, an increase of $1.171 billion compared to FY15. Funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative was increased by $15 million for FY16, bringing the total to a record $1.167 billion, up from $1.152 billion in FY15.
With the new Every Student Succeeds Act set to be signed into law tomorrow (Thursday) securing the authorization of the 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) program for the next four years, attention now turns to completing the FY2016 budget. Funding for all federal programs, including 21st CCLC, Child Care and Development Block Grants, and AmeriCorps, are operating under a continuing resolution (CR) for FY2016 that is set to expire this Friday, December 11th.
House and Senate negotiators continue to struggle to find a compromise for the omnibus spending bill that can be signed by the White House due to a variety of policy riders Members are trying to include in the final spending package. Several scenarios have emerged:
- Congress can pass a short-term CR through next week giving negotiators time to resolve differences over policy riders, followed by passage of a final omnibus FY2016 spending bill;
- Congress can pass a long-term CR through next spring or late winter for at least some federal agencies including the Department of Education; or.
- Congress can pass a final CR through next fall locking in FY2015 spending levels.
One good piece of news is that all parties in the negotiations process have made it clear they do not want the government to shutdown.
Friends of afterschool are encouraged to thank their Member of Congress for supporting 21st CCLC in the ESEA reauthorization bill and also call on Congress to pass an omnibus spending measure that funds 21st CCLC and other funding streams that support afterschool at least at current funding levels. You can learn more and take action here.
By a strong bipartisan vote of 85 to 12, the US Senate cleared the second to last hurdle for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) sending the measure, which will now be called the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), to the President’s desk to be signed into law, with reports indicating that the signing will occur tomorrow, Dec. 10. The long delayed reauthorization of ESEA includes multiple provisions strengthening and supporting student access to quality afterschool and summer learning programs, including an update to the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative.
As described by Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant in a letter to the field last week, there were multiple challenges to the inclusion of 21st CCLC in the final ESEA bill including efforts to eliminate the program. However 21st CCLC was preserved in the final compromise bill as a result of the strong evidence base of 21st CCLC, well-reasoned advocacy on the part of afterschool supporters and more than 670 allied organizations, and tremendous champions in Congress including Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Patty Murray (D-WA), Al Franken (D-MN), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Susan Collins (R-ME), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and in the House of Representatives by Representatives Lou Barletta (R-PA), Dan Kildee (D-MI), David Cicilline (D-RI), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Bobby Scott (D-VA), Susan Brooks (R-IN), Don Young (R-AK) and Nita Lowey (D-NY).
Among the key provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act that support afterschool and summer learning programs for K through 12th grade students are the following:
This evening the House of Representatives voted 359 to 64 in favor of passing the Every Student Succeeds Act—the measure that would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and replace No Child Left Behind. As mentioned earlier this week, the legislation does include the Senate bill’s language strengthening and reauthorizing the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative that funds local school-community partnerships and provides millions of students and families with access to quality afterschool and summer learning programs.
During an hour of floor debate on the bill, several members of Congress including Reps. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) and Steny Hoyer (D-MD) emphasized the value of afterschool programs and community schools supported through the legislation. Following passage of the measure, Representatives Lou Barletta (R-PA) and Dan Kildee (D-MI) issued press releases supporting the bill and highlighting the important role of 21st CCLC afterschool programs in helping young people be successful in school and in life.
With the Thanksgiving holiday around the corner, here are a few things to be on the lookout for in December—a month that looks to be a busy one for federal policy related to afterschool and summer learning programs.
Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization. As noted last week here and here, the ESEA conference committee met last week and completed their work, passing a conference report out of committee. The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the new compromise ESEA bill, reportedly to be called the Every Student Succeeds Act, the week of Nov. 30—likely Tuesday or Wednesday of that week. The Senate will likely take up the bill the week of Dec. 7.
The text of the Every Student Succeeds Act should be made public Nov. 30 as well; based on the now-public framework of the bill, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative is included and reflects the bipartisan language agreed to unanimously by the Senate HELP Committee earlier this year. Reauthorizing and strengthening 21st CCLC will mean almost two million children will continue to have access to quality afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs provided by local school-community partnerships.