Federal OST Legislation
As we approach the November elections and the end of the congressional session, three recent bills related to out of school time are pending in the U.S Senate and House of Representatives and awaiting a vote:
- The Supporting Afterschool STEM Act (S. 2543 & H.R. 5217) – introduced in the House by Texas Representative Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio) – would create grants and a mentorship program to ensure that tomorrow’s scientists, engineers, and programmers get a great head start toward careers in vital STEM fields.
- The Summer Meals Act (S. 2527 & H.R. 5012) would expand the availability of summer meals to low-income students while making it easier for public/private partnerships to provide nutritional meals and snacks in hard-to-reach rural areas.
- The Child Protection Improvements and Electronic Life and Safety Security Systems Act of 2013 (S. 1362) would facilitate background checks on prospective employees and volunteers at youth-serving programs, ensuring the safety of children attending these programs.
These three bills join the Afterschool for America’s Children Act (S. 326 & H.R. 4086), a reauthorization of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program that encourages school-community partnerships, strengthens accountability for performance, and ensures a continued focus on high-quality educational programming outside of the normal school day.
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Budget Cuts and OST
As a result of the sequester that took effect on March 1, 2013, the funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) afterschool programs was cut by 5.2%. This cut meant that nearly 3,000 Texas students would lose access to quality out-of-school time opportunities.
In January 2014, Congress unveiled a compromise spending bill that restored nearly all of the 21st CCLC funding to the budget and continued to fund other programs like the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) that support out-of-school-time activities. Additionally, the bill contained no amendment to the language about allowable uses of 21st CCLC funds, so the program stands as-is for another year, with only waiver states like Texas being able to use afterschool funds for extended learning time. President Obama signed this spending bill into law on January 17.
The U.S. Department of Education released its estimates of state-by-state funding levels for FY 2014 on February 5. Under these predictions, Texas will be allocated $106.2 million for its 21st CCLC programs. This is a 4.6% increase in funding from the sequester-determined 2013 level and a 1.4% increase from 2012. You can view a state-by-state breakdown of DOE funding here, and get more information about the DOE budget here.
Be sure to check back here often for more TXPOST updates on the allocation of 21st CCLC funds by state, as that information becomes available. For the most up-to-date information on TXPOST’s state and national advocacy projects, sign up to receive our e-Updates.
National OST Partnerships
TXPOST partners with national out of school time policy and advocacy experts to support the great work taking place across the state. For more information about current federal out of school time policy issues, please visit the Afterschool Alliance’s Policy and Action Center.
National Out of School Time Policy, Advocacy, and Research Organizations:
- Afterschool Alliance
- American Youth Policy Forum
- The Collaborative for Building After-School Systems
- Expanded Learning & Afterschool Project
- Harvard Family Research Project
- National Institute on Out-of-School-Time
- National Afterschool Association
- National Network of Statewide Afterschool Networks
- National Summer Learning Association
- Out-of-School Time Resource Center at The University of Pennsylvania
- Program in Education, Afterschool & Resiliency
- SEDL National Center for Quality Afterschool
- The Wallace Foundation