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Senate funding bills released with flat funding for afterschool

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Senate funding bills released with flat funding for afterschool

On Tuesday, Nov. 10, the Senate Appropriations Committee released their twelve Fiscal Year 2021 (FY 2021) spending bills. The government is currently being funded under a continuing resolution (CR) that expires on Dec. 11. A spending deal must be reached by that date to avoid a government shutdown.

The recent Senate appropriations bills come about four months after the House of Representatives passed 10 out of 12 of their FY 2021 bills (see our blog here). The Senate education appropriations bill does not include emergency funding to address the COVID emergency like the House education appropriations bill does. In addition to the FY21 spending bills, a stand-alone COVID relief measure still may be considered during the lame duck session if Leader McConnell (R-Ky.) and Speaker Pelosi (D-Calif.) can reach a deal on a compromise package.

With the House and Senate spending bills released, and the Senate not planning to mark up its bills in subcommittee, the next step is for conference negotiations to take place. These negotiations between each of the subcommittees’ “four corners” will include representatives of the chair and ranking members of both the House and Senate who will work through the differences of each bill to produce a set of final compromised spending bills. These final bills will then be voted on together in one large omnibus spending package. Senate Majority Leader McConnell and House Speaker Pelosi have both expressed a desire to complete this work by Dec. 11 when the CR is set to expire. Leadership seems to agree completing the FY 2021 appropriations process is a priority and not something they want to push to the incoming 117th Congress.  

Funding continues to be tight within both the House and Senate proposals in order to stay within the budget caps set by the 2020-2021 budget deal, passed in the summer of 2019. This limits the possibility of much-needed funding increases in afterschool and education as whole. Below is an “at-a-glance” table of the FY 2021 proposed funding levels and the proposed changes from FY 2020 for the major funding streams for afterschool.

Program

FY 2020 Level (Millions)

House Level FY21

House Change (Millions)

Senate Level FY21

Senate Change (Millions)

21st Century Community Learning Centers (Title IV-B)

1,250

1,263

13

1,250

None

Child Care and Development Block Grant

5,826

5,926

100

5,876

50

Student Success and Academic Enrichment Grants (Title IV-A)

1,210

1,220

10

1,250

40

Title I

16,310

16,564

254

16,453

143

Career and Technical Education State Grants (CTE)

1,283

1,301

18

1,358

75

Full Service Community Schools

25

31

6

25

None

Statewide Family Engagement Centers

10

11

1

15

5

IDEA State Grants

13,636

13,837

201

13,761

125

 

Note that for afterschool’s two most substantial programs, 21st CCLC and CCDBG, the Senate bill proposed lower funding levels than the House. However the Senate did propose higher levels for other programs of interest such as Title IV-A, and CTE.

The Senate bill includes:

  • No increase for the 21st Century Community Learning Center program, which supports before-school, afterschool and summer learning programs for almost 2 million students. The House provided a $13 million boost which would support about 13,000 additional students under normal 21st CCLC operations.
  • $50 million increase for CCDBG, the Department of Health and Human Services program which supports school-age children with afterschool and summer programs, in addition to providing child care to infants and toddlers. The House proposed $100 million in additional funds.
  • $143 million increase for Title I funds, which can be used for afterschool and summer supports for disadvantaged students and low-income schools.
  • $125 million increase for IDEA which funds special education.
  • $40 million increase for Title IV-A Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants for a total of $1.2 billion. These funds can be used for afterschool science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) as well as physical activity and a host of other uses. In this case, the Senate increase is more than the House which proposed $10 million.
  • No increase for Title II professional development grants.
  • $75 million increase for CTE grants, a significant increase over the House proposal for an additional $18 million.
  • Level funding for the TRIO and GEAR UP programs which help prepare students for college.
  • $50 million increase for the Corporation for National and Community Service, in line with the House’s proposal.

What’s next

As the work of negotiating a final FY 2021 spending bill for the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services begins, afterschool advocates  have an important role to play. The need for afterschool programs is greater than ever, requiring increased investments and access.

There are now three major funding vehicles to ensure afterschool programs are set up for success in 2021. First, the field must make its voice heard that the final  FY 2021 appropriations bill include at a minimum the House proposed $13 million increase to the 21st CCLC program. Second, the field must make sure Congress knows that the next COVID relief package must include supplemental funding specifically for 21st CCLC. The CARES Act, which was signed into law last March, included several funding streams which afterschool advocates have been able to access (Education Stabilization Fund, Governors’ Emergency Fund, CCDBG supplemental funds, and some state and local relief funds). But, no dedicated funds for 21st CCLC have been provided in COVID relief packages, despite all the data that show 21st CCLC providers are critical supports in the midst of COVID. And third, we must continue to urge bipartisan support for the 21st CCLC Coronavirus Relief Act, legislation introduced by Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Tina Smith (D-Min..) to provide programs with the flexibility and funding (an additional $1.2 billion) they need to operate at this time.

You can help make the case here.

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