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UPDATE: FY15 spending bill passed into law; includes increase in federal afterschool funding

By Erik Peterson

After a week of wrangling and late night sessions in Congress, the Senate passed the hybrid continuing resolution/omnibus government-spending bill HR 83 the evening of Saturday, December 13th. The final bipartisan vote in the Senate was 56 to 40. The House passed the bill two nights earlier on Thursday, Dec. 11th, by a bipartisan vote of 219-206. The bill funds most federal programs through the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30, 2015, and provides temporary funding for the Department of Homeland Security through a Continuing Resolution that expires on February 27, 2015. The President is expected to promptly sign the bill into law.

The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 funds the government at $1.014 trillion in discretionary spending in compliance with the bipartisan Murray-Ryan budget agreement of December 2013. Overall the Department of Education was funded at $70.5 billion, a decrease of $133 million compared to FY14. With regard to afterschool and summer learning programs, funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative was increased by $2.3 million for FY15, bringing the total to $1.152 billion, up from $1.149 billion in FY14.

The increase brings 21st CCLC back to its FY12 pre-sequester funding level. Thousands more young people will have access to quality programs as a result of the increase. The bill includes the following language on 21st CCLC that emphasizes the value of afterschool and summer learning programs:

“The 21st Century Community Learning Center initiative is the only federal funding source authorized specifically for before-school, afterschool and summer learning programs for students attending high-poverty, low-performing schools. Data demonstrates that quality afterschool programs have a positive impact on a number of measures of student academic achievement, positively affecting behavior and discipline and helping relieve parents' worries about their children's safety during the hours when school is out.” 

HR 83 also affects a number of other funding streams that support Afterschool programs:

  • Title I - Provides $14.410 billion for Title I funding. These funds help schools, particularly those with concentrations of economically disadvantaged students, meet high academic achievement standards. School-based afterschool and summer learning programs can be funded through Title I. This is an increase of $25 million. Roughly 90 percent of the nation’s school districts receive Title I funding.
  • GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) –Funds Gear Up at approximately $302 million, which is level funded from last year.
  • TRIO Programs –Provides $839.8 million, an increase of $1.5 million, to help low-income and first generation college students plan, prepare for, and succeed in college through the TRIO programs.
  • Full Service Community Schools – Includes $10 million for community schools, level with FY14 funding.
  • Investing in Innovation – This program is funded at $120 million, which is a decrease of $22 million from last year. The report places an absolute priority to invite funding applications for “implementation of comprehensive high school reform strategies that will increase the number and percentage of students who graduate from high school and enroll in postsecondary education without the need for remediation.”
  • Community Service Block Grants –Funded at the same level as last year, $647 million.
  • Promise Neighborhoods – This program was funded at $56.7 million.
  • Carol M. White Physical Education Program – This program, which provides funds for school and community physical activity programs, is funded at $47 million, a decrease of $27.6 million from FY14.
  • Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) - The bill includes $2.435 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, which provides grants to states for child care assistance to working families and to otherwise improve the quality of child care programs. This is a $75 million increase over the FY14 level. These funds will support child care assistance, including afterschool school-age care.
  • Youth Mentoring Grants – These grants, available through the Dept. of Justice, are funded at $90 million, slightly up from last year.
  • AmeriCorps State and National Grants – The bill funds these programs at $335 million, up from the post-sequester FY13 level of $326 million. AmeriCorps VISTA was funded at $92.364 million.
  • STEM:  The bill provides $866 million for the National Science Foundation's Education and Human Resources Directorate, about $19.5 million above the current spending level. Math and Science Partnerships received $152.72 million, a $3 million increase.
  • Child Nutrition Programs – $21.3 billion in mandatory funding, including $16 million to continue summer food demonstration projects.

Friends of afterschool programs can reach out to their members of Congress here, thanking them for supporting federal afterschool program funding.