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FEB
12
2018

POLICY
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Administration slashes federal afterschool funding

By Erik Peterson

Today the Trump administration released their fiscal year 2019 full budget proposal just days after Congress approved topline spending levels for fiscal years 2018 and 2019. The full budget represents the president’s vision for how Congress should spend federal funds for the upcoming fiscal year that begins October 1, 2018 (FY19).

Echoing the FY18 budget proposal released last year, the administration again proposes the elimination of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative, which funds local afterschool and summer learning programs in all 50 states. Elimination of these funds for local programs would devastate the 1.7 million children and families who stand to lose access to programs as a result.  

The budget proposal comes in stark contrast to the strong bipartisan support for afterschool displayed in Congress. Just in 2015, the Community Learning Centers initiative was reauthorized in an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote as part of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). In 2017, bipartisan support in Congress in the FY17 omnibus spending bill lincreased funding by an included a $25 million increase to Community Learning Centers funding to meet the large need for these programs from working parents, students and communities across the country.

The research is clear: Afterschool works

The budget proposal attempts to justify the proposed elimination of Community Learning Centers by claiming that a lack of evidence exists that links the program to increased student achievement. In fact, more than a decade of data and evaluations provide compelling evidence that Community Learning Center afterschool programs yield positive outcomes for participating children in academics, behavior, school day attendance, and more. Last fall yet another study was released by the nonpartisan Rand Corporation, concluding afterschool and summer learning programs provide measurable benefits to youth and families on outcomes directly related to program content and demonstrably improve academic outcomes. While the effectiveness of Community Learnign Centers funding is clear, the impact of program elimination is clearly devastating, with thousands of students from pre-K to 12th grade in all 50 states at risk of losing access to programming. 

FEB
9
2018

POLICY
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What the bipartisan budget deal means for afterschool

By Erik Peterson

Around 2 a.m. this morning the Senate and then the House passed a bipartisan budget deal and continuing resolution that extends government funding to March 23, doubles the federal investment on child care, and also raises the spending caps for non-defense and defense spending for FY2018 and FY2019. The measure, signed into law today lays the groundwork for a FY2018 Omnibus spending bill that is able to make additional important investments in education programs like the 21st Century Community Learning Centers. 

The bipartisan budget deal raises the debt limit until March 2019 and extends important health programs like the Children’s Health Insurance Program CHIP). It includes disaster relief for areas impacted by hurricanes and fires last year including Puerto Rico.

The deal negotiated by Senate and House majority and minority leadership allows for a total of $131 billion in additional non-defense discretionary spending for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 and $165 billion more for defense spending over the two fiscal years.  As a result, additional funding is expected to be available for the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education appropriations, which includes federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) afterschool and summer learning program funding. 

Of the total two-year increase for non-defense discretionary spending, several programs were singled out to receive increases however the remaining increases will be determined by the Appropriations Committee over the coming weeks as they write the FY2018 Omnibus spending bill.  In particular the deal authorizes an increase of $5.8 billion for the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program over two years ($2.9 billion per year), doubling these funds. About a third of CCDBG funds support school-age children in afterschool and summer learning programs therefore this historic increase means more school-age students will be served while program quality will also improve. Click here to see a chart by the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) showing how many additional children will be able to receive child care assistance in each state. The deal also includes:

  • $6 billion to fight opioid and mental health crises which could include funding for local prevention efforts.
  • $20 billion for infrastructure – the description does not mention schools at this time. However details have yet to be worked out and advocates are making the case for school construction funding.  

While Congress passed this new spending deal and fifth continuing resolution for FY2018 today, the Trump administration is still expected to release its budget proposal for FY2019 this coming Monday, February 12, 2018. Friends of afterschool are encouraged to weigh in with Congress on the importance of federal support for local afterschool and summer learning programs for both the FY2018 Omnibus bill and FY19 appropriations.

FEB
7
2018

POLICY
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New spending deal and CR within reach, child care funding could double

By Erik Peterson

Update: Feb. 9, 7 a.m.: After a brief shutdown around midnight last night, the Senate and the House both passed the bipartisan budget deal and fifth continuing resolution. The government now remains funded at FY2017 levels through March 23, and new higher spending caps for defense and non defense will be incorporated into a new FY2018 omnibus spending bill expected to be voted on in the coming weeks. 

With yet another federal funding deadline quickly approaching as the clock ticks down till midnight on February 8, Congress appears to have made significant progress in finally reaching a two year budget deal that extends FY2018 federal spending under a fifth continuing resolution and raises the non-defense and defense spending caps. While quick passage in the Senate looks likely, it remains uncertain whether the votes are there to pass the deal in the House of Representatives. The deal would extend funding through March 23, 2018, at current FY2017 levels for the most part, allowing appropriators to incorporate the new higher spending caps into a FY2018 Omnibus spending bill that would be voted on next month.  

This afternoon the Senate released the details of their new bipartisan budget deal that allows for a total of $131 billion in additional non-defense discretionary spending for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 and $165 billion more for defense spending over the two fiscal years.  As a result, additional funding is expected to be available for the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education appropriations, which includes federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) afterschool and summer learning program funding. 

The deal also provides emergency funding outside the spending caps for both defense and NDD, including $28 billion for the Community Development Block Grant and $23.5 billion for FEMA’s Disaster Relief Funds, among other items. The deal includes health care extenders and a two-year reauthorization for Community Health Centers.    

JAN
19
2018

POLICY
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Federal funding battle triggers government shutdown

By Erik Peterson

Update: Jan. 22, 3 p.m.: A little after noon (ET)  today (Jan 22), Senate Democrats accepted Majority Leader McConnell’s commitment to bring stand-alone immigration reform legislation to the Senate floor by February 8 for an up or down vote to include provisions to extend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protection program for “DREAMers,” border security, and other issues in exchange for support for a new three-week continuing resolution to keep the government funded. Once passed by the House and signed by the President, which is anticipated to occur in the next few hours, the new funding bill will re-start full government operations until February 8. The government officially shut down at midnight last Friday, when the current CR expired. 

Once this immediate funding crisis is resolved, Congress still needs to agree on a budget deal to complete the FY2018 appropriations process. Specifically, Congress needs to determine how much to raise the defense and non-defense discretionary (NDD) caps, and then enact that change into law with an omnibus appropriations package that funds government programs at the new levels. If no budget deal is reached, the only long-term alternative would be to enact a continuing resolution for the whole year that funds programs at FY2017 levels minus a small across-the-board cut to get funding down to the FY2018 spending caps for defense and NDD, which are below those for FY2017. 

Update: Jan. 20, 8 a.m.: Just after 10 p.m. on Friday night January 19, the Senate voted on the FY2018  CR but was unable to pass the measure that would have kept the government open through February 16 and fund CHIP for six more years.  Four Republican senators —Lindsay Graham (S.C.), Rand Paul (Ky.), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), and Mike Lee (Utah) — voted with the majority of Democrats against passage of the CR. Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) missed the vote and is home in Arizona battling brain cancer. Democratic Senators Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Joe Manchin III (D-W.V.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), and Doug Jones (D-Ala.), all of whom face tough paths to reelection in states that supported Trump, voted with the majority of Republicans in support of passage. 

The House of Representatives will reconvene at 9 a.m. this morning and the Senate will reconvene at noon as talks continue to reach an agreement that would reopen the government. Most members believe a resolution can be found by the end of the weekend; however right now the path forward remains unclear. 

We will continue to keep you informed while discussion (and debate) continue over the weekend. 

With the Jan. 19 midnight deadline for federal spending just a few short hours away, Congress and the Administration are scrambling to pass a fourth Continuing Resolution (CR) in order to prevent a government shutdown. An FY 2018 CR (H.R. 195) that cleared the House on Jan. 18 by a vote of 230 to 197 would extend government funding through Feb. 16 and reauthorize the expired Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for six years.

Among items missing, however, are longer-term funding for FY 2018 (or parity between defense and non-defense spending), protection for Dreamers/DACA recipients, more relief for disaster areas, and community health centers funding. Senate Democrats have publicly announced that they will oppose the measure. Unsure of passage in the Senate, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) advised senators to prepare to meet through the weekend. (A weekend or three-day stopgap CR has also been floated as a way to buy more time for negotiations. You can track legislative developments, as they are very fluid.) It is interesting to note that if funding were to lapse at midnight, it would be the first government shutdown in the modern budgeting era—dating back to the 1970s— that’s overseen by a party that controls the House, Senate and White House.

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
9
2017

RESEARCH
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Looking for evidence on the impact of afterschool?

By Nikki Yamashiro

Look no further! Adding to the research conversation discussing the value of afterschool and summer learning programs, the Afterschool Alliance has released two new fact sheets that provide a sampling of evaluation findings demonstrating the positive impact programs have on students, with subjects ranging from helping students become more engaged in learning to improving students’ foundational skills, such as communication and decision-making skills. 

The two fact sheets include different sets of information meant to complement one another. What does the research say about 21st Century Community Learning Centers? focuses specifically on findings from evaluations of Community Learning Centers programs, including statewide evaluations from a number of states across the country, such as California, Texas, and West Virginia. On the other hand, What does the research say about afterschool? includes student outcomes from evaluations of afterschool programs more broadly, comprising evaluations of Community Learning Centers programs as well as referencing meta-analyses (an approach that looks at multiple studies and their data) and national-level studies.

If you are in search of how to make an evidence-based case for afterschool, you can pluck findings from these fact sheets to demonstrate that there is a body of research that both establishes and confirms that afterschool works.

Didn’t find exactly what you’re looking for? Search our Impacts Database and filter for evaluations focused on everything from the evaluations’ findings, such as attendance and behavior, to the age of students served. The database, which we continuously update and add to, currently includes more than 60 evaluations. If you have an evaluation you think we should include, email us at info@afterschoolalliance.org.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Evaluation and Data