Failing to invest in after-school and summer programs would undermine two decades of work to help communities close the learning gap for children of color, low-income children and working class families.
If the state does not increase funding for these high-quality programs, up to 29 percent of them could shut down in the next two years, leaving more than 120,000 students with nowhere to go when the school day ends.
For many children in rural communities, an after-school program is their only opportunity to get help with homework, take part in extracurricular activities and socialize outside of school. But small rural school districts struggle to provide transportation, find qualified staff and enroll enough students to generate adequate funding to keep these programs going.
In a national ranking, California is at the top in providing quality after-school programs based on the percentage of students involved, parent satisfaction and other factors, according to a survey released Thursday by the Afterschool Alliance, an advocacy group for expanded learning.
Senate Bill 1221, authored by Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Oakland, which would give funding priority to summer programs for students and sets new quality standards for all out-of-school programs, has passed the Legislature and is awaiting approval by the governor.