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Senate appropriators propose level funding for 21st CCLC in FY 2024

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Senate appropriators propose level funding for 21st CCLC in FY 2024

The Senate Appropriations Committee released and marked up their Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (LHHS) bill on July 27, 2023. The bill proposes $224.4 billion in total funding for Fiscal Year 2024. The Nita M Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Center Initiative (21st CCLC) – the only federal funding stream dedicated to afterschool, before-school, and summer learning programs – would receive the same amount it did in FY 2023, $1.329 billion. Earlier this year, the White House proposed level funding for 21st CCLC. Several weeks ago, the House Appropriations Committee also proposed level funding for 21st CCLC, although the partisan plan would cut or eliminate funding for many other education programs.

Unlike the House bill, the Senate spending proposal was developed in a bipartisan way. Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-ME) agreed to follow the spending limits set in the Fiscal Responsibility Act, which was enacted in May. On the other side of the Capitol,  the FY 2024 House Labor-HHS-Education bill proposes cutting $60 billion, or 29 percent, from  FY 2023 funding levels—an approach that reflects House GOP leadership’s decision to develop spending bills that cut spending to FY 2022 levels.

The Senate bill would provide $79.6 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Education – a marked contrast to the House plan, which allocates $57.1 billion in discretionary funding for the Department. The House plan has been approved at the subcommittee level, but has not been considered by the full Appropriations Committee. While it isn’t clear when either bill might be on the floor of the House or Senate, ultimately, the two chambers will have to negotiate a final spending bill. With Congress in recess until after Labor Day, the House and Senate will be under considerable pressure to pass appropriations bills or a continuing resolution needed October 1, 2023, to avoid a federal government shutdown. That is an ambitious undertaking, and the odds of a shutdown are increasing before final decisions are made about FY 2024 spending are made.

Key funding provisions of the Senate bill include the following:

  • Level funding for the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Center program, which supports before-school, afterschool and summer learning programs for more than 1 million students. The program would receive $1.329 billion for FY 2024.
  • $8.7 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant—a $700 million increase over fiscal year 2023—which will help more families across the country find and afford the child care they need. This Department of Health and Human Services program supports school-age children with afterschool and summer programs, in addition to providing child care to infants and toddlers.
  • The bill provides a $175 million increase for Title I-A grants to Local Education Agencies, for a total $18.5 billion. These Education funds can be used by school districts to support afterschool and summer learning.
  • The bill also provides $1.4 billion, a $20 million increase over fiscal year 2023, for Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants. These funds can be used for afterschool Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), physical activity and a host of other uses.
  • $150 million for Full Service Community Schools; this funding supports comprehensive services and expands evidence-based models that meet the holistic needs of children, families, and communities, including afterschool and summer learning components.
  • $1.482 billion for career and technical education (CTE), which can be used for school community partnerships supporting middle school and high school youth engaged in career-connected learning.
  • $1.191 billion for TRIO programs and $388 million for GEAR UP.  These programs help prepare students for college.
  • $80 million for the Child Care Access Means Parents in School program, a $5 million increase.
  • $1.220 billion for Federal Work Study, which can help support college students working in afterschool and other community-based organizations while attending college.
  • $1.262 billion for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS): including $103 million for VISTA and $557 million for AmeriCorps State and National Grants.
  • $101 million for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention program that supports adolescents
  • $10 Million to continue Career Pathways for Youth Grants.
  • The bill also includes over $100 million in investments within the Department of Education to address the shortage of school-based mental health professionals in our nation’s K-12 schools.
  • In the bill’s Report, on Parental and Family Engagement, the Committee recommendation sustains the increased resources provided the past 2 years that has enabled the Department to support 20 centers providing technical assistance to SEAs, LEAs and relevant organizations to increase parental and family engagement to improve educational outcomes. The Committee urges the Department to continue to support educators, principals, school leaders, specialized instructional support personnel, and other school staff in implementing evidence-based parental and family engagement activities to address chronic absenteeism and other urgent issues facing students, parents, and families, such as home visitation programs, effective professional development, afterschool and summer activities, and the provision of resources in the home languages of families.

Congressionally Directed Funding, similar to the earmarks of the past, are also included in the Senate bill. (There are none in the House spending proposal). Funding mentioned in the afterschool space includes support for local programs in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Virginia, and Michigan. 

The voices of programs and programs supporters is as important as ever in this process! We know 25 million youth await access to affordable afterschool programs. While neither the House nor Senate bills propose cuts to 21st Century Community Learning Centers, program costs continue to increase, making it difficult to serve the same number of students in the future and failing to address increasing demand for afterschool and summer learning programs.

Friends of afterschool can weigh in with their members of Congress about the importance of funding afterschool and summer learning programs.

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