News Update

State budget includes $15 million to expand mentors and tutors through AmeriCorps

The Legislature rejected Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposal in his revised state budget in May to earmark $2.6 billion for school districts and charter schools to spend on tutoring students who were set back by the pandemic. The compromise budget awaiting Newsom’s signature has other uses for the money. But the budget does contain a small amount that will help get some well-trained mentors and tutors into classrooms.

The one-time $15 million for the AmeriCorps California Student Success Coach Grant Program marks the first state investment in AmeriCorps, the federally funded national service program, and its affiliated City Year, which places 416 corps members in schools in Los Angeles, Inglewood, San Jose and Sacramento.

AmeriCorps chapters will compete for the money, which can be used to hire additional corps members, increase training in academic and social and emotional supports, or increase stipends to help recruit members, said City Year External Affairs Director Jacqueline Mejia. In high-cost San Jose, a one-bedroom apartment can cost nearly as much as AmeriCorps’ $21,000 annual stipend.

Many states and school districts are looking to in-school, small-group tutoring as a strategy to address the academic and emotional needs of students returning to school after 15 months of distance learning. But districts are also finding that well-trained aides and teachers will be stretched thin and in short supply.

Tapping into AmeriCorps is an obvious option.

“Covid-19 has hit our state and our students in unequal ways and it’s imperative we look for more ways to support the students who need it most,” said Sandra Cano, vice president and executive director of City Year Los Angeles.