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What could the Build Back Better Act mean for afterschool and summer learning?

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What could the Build Back Better Act mean for afterschool and summer learning?

This week the House of Representatives finished work at the Committee level on the Build Back Better Act legislation that invests in programs that support human infrastructure and includes parts of President Biden’s American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan.

The bill is progressing on a partisan track using the budget reconciliation process. The legislation broadly focuses on housing, education, economic opportunity, climate, and health care.  To move the process forward from the Budget Resolution passed in mid-August, each House authorizing committee was responsible for recommending specific changes to expenditures within their jurisdiction. A number of bills, which have now passed through their committees, included several components that could impact young people in afterschool and summer learning programs, as well as afterschool and summer learning providers.

As it currently stands, but likely to change when the bill heads to the Senate, the following provisions could impact the afterschool and summer learning field:

  • Elementary and Secondary Education
    • $82 billion for infrastructure, including $80.6 billion for K-12 school construction, over fiscal years (FYs) 2022-2024 for a new Rebuild America’s Schools grant program. Most of the money would be available through FY 2026. States would receive funding based on the Title I formula. Allowable uses of funds include major repairs, safety and facility upgrades, constructing new facilities, and improving instructional or outdoor public school facilities relating to early learning, special education, science, technology, career and technical education, physical education, the arts, literacy (including library programs), or community based partnerships. $197 million for “Grow Your Own” Programs for FY 2022 to address teacher shortages in high-need subjects and locations and to increase the diversity of those entering the education field. Afterschool programs have been an important strategy in such efforts as documented in the recent Education Trust report “A Natural Fit: Supporting After-School Staff of Color in Teacher Pipelines.”

 

  • Higher Education - $111 billion
    • Tuition-Free Community College - For five years starting in award year 2023-24, would provide two years of tuition-free community college for eligible students. States would receive grants that decline to 80 percent of total student costs in award year 2027-28, with states contributing the difference.

 

  • Workforce Development - $80 billion
    • $9.1 billion for youth workforce investment activities, $5 billion for apprenticeship, youth apprenticeship, and pre-apprenticeship programs, $2 billion for community college and industry partnership grants, $10 billion for industry or sector partnership grants, $1.5 billion for Job Corps, among other workforce investments.

 

  • Career and Technical Education
    • $3 billion for career and technical education (CTE) programs for FY 2022 and $1 billion for innovation and modernization under the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006, to remain available until 2028. Community based afterschool programs that have been working with CTE programs to support students with access to CTE learning opportunities after school could potentially benefit.

 

  • National and Community Service
    • $1.3 billion for the Corporation for National and Community Service to support existing and new awards for national service programs authorized under the AmeriCorps State and National program including AmeriCorps, VISTA, and the National Civilian Community Corps, which provide important resources and volunteers that help local out-of-school time programs support the needs of young people in communities impacted by poverty. 

 

  • Child Care and Universal Pre-Kindergarten - $450 billion
    • $90 billion over FYs 2022-2024 and such sums as may be necessary for FYs 2025-2027 to provide child care for specified low-income and other eligible families through a new “birth through five child care and early learning entitlement program.” While the new proposed entitlement program does not extend to school-age children, the proposed expansion of child care access for significantly more young children would enable the existing child care system and Child Care Development Block Grant funding to serve more school age students by capping the amount of CCDBG funds dedicated to children 0-5 in states that opt in to the new entitlement.
    • $200 million in the House Ways and Means Committee portion of the bill for each of FY 2022 and FY 2023 for matching grants to states for creating child care information networks that include programs serving school-age students.
    • $15 billion for FY 2022 (funds are available through FY 2026) for infrastructure grants of up to $250 million to states to improve child care safety by acquiring, constructing, expanding, or renovating child care facilities, including those serving school-age students. State must provide a 10 percent match to the federal funds.

 

  • Trauma-Informed Care
    • $2.5B included in the Build Back Better Act that would invest in public health approaches to reducing community violence and trauma through community-based trauma-informed care. These new funds would be available to nonprofit community-based organizations both directly and in partnership in order to convene relevant local entities around trauma solutions. There is also a $2.5 billion community violence initiative in the Judiciary Committee portion of the bill that could be accessed by nonprofit community-based organizations as well.

 

  • Child Nutrition
    • Expands the number of schools that would be able to offer free meals to all students through the Community Eligibility Provision by lowering the Identified Student Percentage eligibility threshold from 40 to 25 percent. This provision would continue through June 30, 2030. The bill would also give states the option to implement the Community Eligibility Provision statewide, allowing all students in the state to receive school breakfast and lunch at no charge. This provision would continue through June 30, 2030.
    • Extends Summer EBT nationwide for students who receive free or reduced-price school meals (including those who attend Community Eligibility Provision, Provision 2, or Provision 3 schools). The bill would allow states as well as Indian Tribal Organizations that participate in WIC to provide Summer EBT. This provision would continue through September 30, 2029.
    • Provides $634 million for a Healthy School Meals Incentives demonstration project that would support activities like school and community gardens, with a potential role for community-based organizations to partner with schools in this effort.

For more information see a fact sheet on all of the components of the Education and Labor Committee’s portion of the Build Back Better Act as well as the bill text.

With the completion of this House committee markup process, the next step is for the House Budget Committee to package them into one reconciliation bill and send it to the Rules Committee, which could happen the week of September 20. At the same time, House and Senate leadership, in consultation with the committees that received reconciliation instructions, will likely need some time to negotiate a modified, scaled back version of the reconciliation bill that reflects the support of all 50 Senate Democrats as well as House Democrats to ensure passage by a simple majority in the Senate. No Republicans are expected to vote for the reconciliation package.

On a separate track from the reconciliation process, federal fiscal year (FY) 2021 ends on September 30 and Congress has not yet passed any final FY 2022 appropriations bills. A continuing resolution (CR) is therefore expected to pass this month extending current government funding and preventing a government shutdown at the end of September. A CR will likely include disaster relief as well as other emergency funding, and may also include an increase in the debt ceiling – something Congress must do some time in the next month. If it passes, the CR is expected to fund the government through early to mid-December. 

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