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Congress works to pass FY 2023 omnibus spending bill, increase afterschool and summer funding

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Congress works to pass FY 2023 omnibus spending bill, increase afterschool and summer funding

Updated 1/3/2023: On Friday, Dec. 23 the House passed an omnibus appropriations bill by a 221-205-1 vote, following Senate passage by a 68-29 vote on Thursday, Dec. 22. The president signed the bill into law. The bill represents an increase from the $1.5 trillion appropriations package for FY 22 including increased afterschool and summer learning funding.

More than two months after the 2023 fiscal year began, Congress is working rapidly to pass an FY 2023 omnibus spending bill before Friday, Dec. 23, 2022, when a second short-term FY 2023 continuing resolution expires. Lengthy negotiations between the administration, both parties, and both chambers have resulted in a $1.7 trillion FY 2023 omnibus bill that would fund the federal government through September 30, 2023. The omnibus spending bill appropriates a $40 million increase for the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative, resulting in a total of $1.329 billion for local afterschool and summer learning programs—an all-time high level of funding. These funds are in addition to a $50 million one-time increase for 21st CCLC that was included in the Bipartisan Safe Communities Act that passed in June. While the additional funding is appreciated by the out-of- school-time field and will help address some of the increased costs associated with offering high quality afterschool and summer opportunities, it is not sufficient to meet the increased demand for quality afterschool and summer learning program.

The FY 2023 omnibus spending bill includes $772.5 billion for non-defense discretionary programs including those in the Education, Labor and Health and Human Services Departments. It includes $18.387 billion for Title I formula funding to schools, which can also be used to support afterschool and summer learning programs. The bill supports early education and child care by including more than $8 billion for the Child Care Development Block Grant – funds that can be used to support school-age students up to age 13.

Additionally, the omnibus spending legislation includes several policy changes added by the Senate Agriculture Committee that will impact the Summer Nutrition Programs. The bill does not include a comprehensive reauthorization of the federal child nutrition programs, but does include the following:

  • Makes permanent the Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) programs that had previously been piloted. This will go into effect in summer 2024 and allows qualifying low-income families with children to receive funds to pay for meals for children. Summer EBT is a complement to the Summer Nutrition Programs (which support summer meal programs in low-income communities that are frequently combined with educational, enrichment, and recreational activities) and can help reduce food insecurity for low-income families, particularly in rural or other areas with limited access to summer meals.
  • Allows communities in rural areas that do not have existing summer learning programs that offer meals through the Summer Nutrition Programs to implement non-congregate feeding programs that provide meals directly to children’s homes. USDA would develop rules and regulations for this new provision.

Specific proposed funding levels for education programs that support afterschool and summer learning and enrichment include:

  • The Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers: $1.329 billion, $40 million above the 2022 enacted level. The 21st CCLC program annually serves students in every state at more than 10,652 sites across the U.S.
  • Title I Funding to Local Education Agencies: $18.387 billion, an increase of $850 million (or 5 percent) above the 2022 enacted level. Title I provides basic and flexible funding to low-income school districts to improve student outcomes. Schools are able to spend Title I funds on afterschool and summer learning programs.
  • Title IV Full Service Community Schools: $150 million, an increase of $75 million, to provide comprehensive services and expand evidence-based models that meet the holistic needs of children, families, and communities, including out-of-school time programs.
  • Promise Neighborhoods: $91 million, an increase of $6 million for grants to increase access to great schools and strong systems of family and community support that will prepare students to attain an excellent education and successfully transition to college and a career. Afterschool and summer can be one component of these efforts.
  • Title IV Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants: $1.38 billion, an increase of $100 million above the 2022 enacted level. These funds for school districts established under ESSA support activities that provide students with a well-rounded education, ensure safe and supportive learning environments, and use technology to improve instruction. Allowable uses for the grant include support for afterschool STEM activities. 
  • Child Care Access Means Parents in School: $75 million, an increase of $10 million above the 2022 enacted level.
  • TRIO and GEAR UP: $1.2 billion for Federal TRIO programs, an increase of $54 million above the 2022 enacted level. Additionally, $388 million for GEAR UP, an increase of $10 million above the 2022 enacted level. Both programs help high school youth prepare and access higher education.
  • Federal Work Study: $1.23 billion, an increase of $20 million above the 2022 enacted level. Federal Work Study can be used to support college students working in community-based afterschool programs.
  • Career, Technical Education (CTE): $2.2 billion, an increase of $100 million for the Perkins V CTE program. CTE programs can partner with community-based afterschool providers to provide workforce development and career exploration programs.
  • Statewide Family Engagement Centers: $20 million, an increase of $5 million for these grants which provide financial support to organizations that provide technical assistance and training to state educational agencies (SEAs) and local educational agencies (LEAs) in the implementation and enhancement of systemic and effective family engagement policies, programs, and activities. This programming is intended to lead to improvements in student development and academic achievement.
  • Education Innovation and Research (EIR): $284 million, an increase of $50 over FY 2022. Within the total for EIR, the bill specifies that $87 million will go to provide
    grants for social and emotional learning (SEL) and $87 million will fund grants for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and computer science education
    activities. Within the STEM and computer science set-aside, awards should expand
    opportunities for underrepresented students such as minorities, girls, and youth
    from families living at or below the poverty line to help reduce the enrollment and
    achievement gap.
  • Continued support for a Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Initiative to support SEL and “whole child” approaches to education. In addition to community schools and EIR funds that contribute to whole child approaches, the bill provides $90 million, an increase of $5 million over the FY 2022 enacted level, for the Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) program with a priority for teacher professional development and pathways into teaching that provide a strong foundation in implementing SEL and “whole child” strategies.

Proposed funding levels for afterschool and summer related programs in the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Labor, Corporation for National and Community Service, Department of Justice and other agencies:

  • Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG): $8 billion, an increase of $1.9 billion; in addition to supporting child care for children ages birth through five, the CCDBG funds afterschool programs for just under one million school-age children.
  • Mental health resources for children and youth including $140 million for Project AWARE, an increase of $20 million. These funds support school-and-campus-based mental health services and support, including increasing student access to evidence-based, culturally relevant, trauma support services and mental health care through established partnerships with community organizations.
  • Community Services Block Grant: $770 million, an increase of $15 million. Funds support services and activities for individuals and families with low incomes that alleviate the causes and conditions of poverty in communities and can include support for afterschool and summer learning programs.
  • Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS): $1.3 billion, an increase of $162 million above the 2022 enacted level. CNCS supports AmeriCorps and VISTA that are a key asset for hundreds of afterschool programs. Of the CNCS budget, $557 million for AmeriCorps State and National Grants is included, an increase of $90 million over the FY 2022 enacted level.
  • Youth Mentoring: $107 million for FY 2023 to support mentoring programs including those provided through afterschool programs, and increase of $5 million over FY 2022.
  • Juvenile Justice and Prevention: $65 million for Title V grants to be used for the following: $5,000,000 for grants to prevent trafficking of girls; $17,000,000 for the Tribal Youth Program; $500,000 for an Internet site providing information and resources on children of incarcerated parents; $5,500,000 for competitive grants focusing on girls in the juvenile justice system; $12,500,000 for an initiative relating to youth affected by opioids, stimulants, and substance use disorder; $10,000,000 for an initiative relating to children exposed to violence; and $2,000,000 for grants to protect vulnerable and at-risk youth.
  • STEM: $1.154 billion for the National Science Foundation (NSF) for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education programs which may include support for informal STEM education. The bill includes $70 million for NSF’s Advancing Informal STEM Learning program. In addition, NSF is directed to provide grants to support the development of hands-on learning opportunities in STEM education, including via afterschool activities and innovative learning opportunities, such as robotics competitions.
  • Career Pathways for Youth Grants: $20 million for grants to support national out-of-school time organizations that serve youth and teens and place an emphasis on age-appropriate workforce readiness programming to expand job training and workforce pathways for youth and disconnected youth.

In addition, at least $200.4 million in Community Project Funding was included specifically for education-related programs. We are analyzing how much of this funding went to support afterschool and summer youth serving programs.

The Senate plans to vote on the bill this week, likely this Thursday, December 22, although challenges still remain. The House would then need to take up the measure immediately as the current continuing resolution is set to expire at midnight on December 23, 2022.

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BY: Erik Peterson      01/23/23

White House Domestic Policy Council focuses on summer learning

Photo by René DeAnda on Unsplash On March 13, just days after the administration released their FY 2025 budget proposal, the White House Domestic Policy Council (DPC) hosted a Summer Learning Convening in the White House Executive Office Building. The meeting was kicked off by DPC...

BY: Erik Peterson      03/18/24

Afterschool and summer learning called out in Improving Student Achievement agenda

Earlier this month the Biden administration announced a new effort focused on providing students with the support they need to accelerate learning and be successful in school and life. The Improving Student Achievement Agenda for 2024 was launched at the White House on January 17 and is focused on...

BY: Erik Peterson      02/01/24

Extending the liquidation deadline of ESSER III funds to promote student success

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education released a letter sent to state education agencies outlining the process for requesting American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III) funding extensions. The process will be similar to what was announced for ESSER I and...

BY: Erik Peterson      01/19/24

21st CCLC is 25: Join us in an upcoming year of visioning the future of 21st Century Community Learning Centers

As the year wraps up, we offer a final cheer in celebration of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative’s twenty fifth year! It was a year filled with an information packed 21st CCLC Summer Institute; the continuation of the federal Engage Every Student...

BY: Jillian Luchner      12/20/23

New law clarifies the use of federal funds for archery and other programs

Image by 422737 from Pixabay Last week, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the “Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act” (H.R. 5110). The law specifically allows schools to use federal education funds for archery, hunting, or other shooting sports. The bipartisan legislation...

BY: Erik Peterson      10/04/23

Beyond relief – New tools to help sustain the impactful pandemic investments in afterschool and summer

Children’s Funding Project, in collaboration with Grantmakers for Education and our team at the Afterschool Alliance released an important new tool for the field, “Funding Out-Of-School Time Programs – Now and in the Future.” Recognizing that COVID-19 education and child...

BY: Jillian Luchner      09/29/23

OST college preparation programs close opportunity gaps for students of color

On June 29, 2023, the United States Supreme Court ended the use of race-based admission policies at higher education institutions. As an advocate for equitable education and a current college student who comes from a background that would qualify me to be a beneficiary of affirmative action, I am...

BY: Mazzi Ingram      08/22/23

ED extends time for comments on 21st CCLC Draft Non-Regulatory Guidance

Afterschool providers and allies now have until July 7 to comment on the 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) Draft Non-Regulatory Guidance. We are grateful to the Department of Education for recognizing the significance of this updated guidance and providing additional time for feedback....

BY: Jillian Luchner      06/22/23

Your feedback needed on 21st Century Community Learning Center draft non-regulatory guidance

UPDATE: The deadline has been extended from June 16th to July 7th. The U.S. Department of Education is accepting feedback through June 16, 2023, on Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Draft Non-Regulatory Guidance PDF. This represents the first time in 20 years that...

BY: Erik Peterson      05/22/23

Department of Education calls for commitment of community service across universities

College students have long played an important role in supporting younger youth. The afterschool field has benefited from these student’s expertise, enthusiasm, diversity, and near-peer levels of mentorship for decades. Now, a nationally organized initiative is working to ensure more...

BY: Jillian Luchner      05/17/23