Monday, April 20, 2015

Time to Raise the Funding Rate for ASES Programs

By Guest Blogger, Jessica Gunderson, Partnership for Children and Youth

Jessica Gunderson, Policy Director
Partnership for Children and Youth
After School Education and Safety (ASES) programs’ funding rate of $7.50 per student daily rate has not changed since 2006, despite a 17% increase in the cost of living and increases in the minimum wage. Without an increase to ASES funding, it will be difficult to sustain quality after-school programs and there is risk that some programs might have to close. There is evidence that some programs are already having to consider shutting their doors due to the inadequate funding.

In February 2015, the Partnership for Children and Youth (PCY) and key partners, distributed a short online survey to programs across the state to gain insight on the impact of the current ASES daily rate. In only two weeks, 588 respondents from over 300 school districts completed the survey. 

The results clearly laid out the urgent need to increase the daily rate. Some of the key findings included:
  • 89% of ASES-funded programs have been negatively impacted by the flat ASES funding formula
  • More than 75% of ASES-funding programs have found it more difficult to retain and attract quality staff
  • 75% of programs are having to reduce the number of enrichment activities offered
  • Nearly 50% of respondents have had to reduce staff hours.

What does this mean for our field? This survey demonstrated that the current ASES funding policy is negatively impacting students and parents that rely on these vital services. For the students we serve, the waiting lists are getting longer; programs are no longer able to provide field trips and an array of enrichment activities; student safety is threatened with transportation reductions, there is a revolving door of staff, and the quality of academic supports is being reduced. Click here to view our survey results memo.

There is a need for the field at-large to take action NOW:
  • Sign-up and get involved in educating policymakers regarding legislative (SB 645 – Hancock) and budget efforts underway to increase the daily rate.
  • Advocate to legislators directly by participating in the CalSac Challenge on May 11 and 12th at the State Capitol.
  • Share out the survey results and policy actions far and wide with your networks.
For more information on the full survey results and/or related policy efforts, please contact Jessica Gunderson at jessica@partnerforchildren.org.

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Jessica Gunderson is the Policy Director at the Partnership for Children & Youth dedicated to  shaping and managing their expanded learning time and community school advocacy and policy work. Before joining PCY, Jessica worked as a senior planner at the Vera Institute of Justice in New York City. While at Vera, she led research and planning efforts to address educational neglect and chronic absenteeism among teenagers resulting in two publications, Getting Teenagers to School and Rethinking Educational Neglect. Jessica received her Master of Public Administration and Non-profit Management degree at the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at NYU.

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