California’s Subsidized After-School Programs are at risk
After-school and summer programs are important for students, especially low-income students, because they provide students with things such as homework help, field trips, social support and meals, among other things. California’s subsidized after-school programs serve around 859,000 low-income students at 4,500 schools statewide. These programs are free to parents of low-income students and they are at risk of closing because of budgetary pressure. It appears as though the increase in minimum wage has a correlated affect on the rising costs to maintain the after-school and summer programs. Eric Gurna, president and CEO of LA’s Best, an after-school program housed in the office of Mayor Eric Garcetti, states:
Whole organizations and the whole system is at risk… Over the last 11 years, the cost of doing business has gone up… everything from insurance to supplies and materials, permits and fees. And the funding has remained flat.
Most of the funding for several after-school organizations now comes from the After School Education and Safety (ASES) Program, which was created after a 2002 voter approved initiative. ASES has not gotten an increase in funding from lawmakers since 2006, even though the minimum wage has increased from $6.75 in 2006 to $10.50 in 2017. Governor Brown has said in the past that districts can use Local Control Funding Formula money to support programs considered important, but the formula isn’t meant to be used to fill-in budget gaps. According to the Los Angeles Daily News,
“…Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino, has introduced Senate Bill 78, which would raise funding to $9 per pupil per day from $7.50 and would tie future funding increases to minimum wage increases.
Hopefully some more viable solutions can be created to save the much needed after-school and summer programs to benefit those that need them.
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