Texas Expanded Learning Opportunities Initiative
In the 2015 Texas legislative session, TXPOST has been working closely with members of Senate Finance Committee and House Appropriations Committee to secure state funding for expanded learning opportunities programs that benefit Texas children and families.
A rider to appropriate funding for implementation of the Texas Expanded Learning Opportunities Council’s recommendations has been submitted in both chambers. The rider would create the Texas Expanded Learning Opportunities Initiative administered by the Texas Education Agency. It would include a competitive grant program, training and technical assistance, statewide collaboration and evaluation of afterschool, summer and expanded learning programs.
2015 TXPOST Legislative Agenda & FAQ
TXPOST has been working tirelessly to develop our advocacy strategies that could increase the quality and availability of out of school time programs in Texas.
For the 84th Texas Legislative Session, we will advocate for creating dedicated state funding streams to support OST programs.
Please take a look at the full 2015 TXPOST Legislative Agenda & FAQ document for more information!
Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) Council
In the 83rd Texas Legislative Session, TXPOST worked to pass Senate Bill 503 which established an Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) Council.
The ELO Council is charged with:
- Analyzing current research on best practices and other issues related to Expanded Learning Opportunities;
- Analyzing the availability of, and unmet needs for, state and local Expanded Learning Opportunities;
- Analyzing opportunities to create incentives for employers and businesses to support Expanded Learning Opportunities;
- Analyzing opportunities to maximize charitable support for public and private partnerships to bolster Expanded Learning Opportunities; and
- Analyzing opportunities to promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in Expanded Learning Opportunities.
Since its creation, the ELO Council has held three in-person meetings and numerous conference calls and webinars to discuss the priorities they will address in their recommendations to the Texas Governor and State Legislature.
TXPOST is playing a supporting role to the Council by providing research, contacts, and other resources to aid Council members in the development of their recommendations. To stay up to date on the Council’s progress toward making recommendations to the governor and legislature, be sure to sign up for TXPOST’s email updates.
21st Century Community Learning Centers/Texas ACE
For the 2014-15 school year, over 400 Texas ACE afterschool program sites in Texas are funded by the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program, a federal grant with the purpose of providing learning opportunities before and after school and during the summer for students across the country. In Texas, this funding is administered by the Texas Education Agency and distributed in five-year cycles.
In past years, TEA has issued a request for proposals (RFP) about once every two years to determine the grantees for the next cycle. This process ensures that there are at least two active cycles in any given school year. However, of the $107 million appropriated to the 21st CCLC program in fiscal year 2014, only $7.7 million is left over after funding the two current cycles and administrative costs. This amount is less than 25% of the $32 million spent on the most recent full cycle, and not enough to fund a new cycle of grants. In the interim before a full cycle is issued, TEA has selected 14 additional grant applicants from Cycle 8 to fund beginning this school year, the second year of that cycle.
Meanwhile, the expiration of Cycle 6 at the end of July 2014 significantly reduces the accessibility of afterschool programs to students across the state. The chart above shows the effects of the expiring funding on the number of sites that will be funded this year and next year in selected Texas regions. The Texas map shows each 21st CCLC site from the last three cycles, with the expired Cycle 6 sites in red. Click the image for an interactive map that can give you more detailed information about sites in your community.
Many programs that were funded by Cycle 6 have found alternative funding sources to continue providing out of school time services. Sustainability solutions have included direct school board funding in San Benito, a tax measure passed by voters in Temple, use of Title I funds in Birdville, financial support from community partners in Round Rock, and many more. For information on finding sustaining resources for OST programs in your community, visit our Funding and Sustainability Resources page, or contact us directly.
Texas's ESEA/NCLB Waiver
On September 30, 2013, the United States Department of Education granted Texas a waiver from some of the requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, also known as No Child Left Behind or NCLB). As part of this waiver, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) received flexibility in the assignment of federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CLCC) funding. Under the ESEA, these funds are restricted to use outside of the normal school day; the Texas waiver allows these funds “to be used to support extended learning time during and after the school day to meet the identified needs of students.”
Currently, the effect of this waiver on funding for OST programs in Texas is unknown. TXPOST is closely following this potential change in OST funding, and will post updates on the situation here and through our e-newsletter.
Child Care Development Funds (CCDF)
TXPOST provided input to the Texas Workforce Commission on their proposed plan for use of Child Care Development Funds. Click here to read TXPOST's suggestions.