State announces $550 mil in afterschool funds

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell has announced that more than 4,000 schools have been appropriated $550 million in After School Education and Safety (ASES) grants.

&#8220As our lifestyles become increasingly busy, parents need a helping hand with their children, and children need a safe haven during non-school hours where they can be productive,” said O'Connell. &#8220The half-billion-dollar After School Education and Safety grant addresses both those concerns by providing children educational enrichment, physical activities, and support for students in before and after school programs.”

ASES was designed to encourage education agencies to create locally driven before and after school programs at schools or other sites. The funding process required applicants to collaborate with families, community organizations, law enforcement agencies, and the private sector to develop these programs. The programs were also required to have educational and literacy components to provide tutoring and/or homework assistance in one or more subjects. The subjects include language arts, mathematics, history, social science, or science. The educational enrichment component may include recreation and prevention activities such as visual and performing arts, music, physical activity, health promotion, and general recreation; career awareness and work preparation activities; community service-learning; and other youth development activities based on student needs and interests.

The $550 million for ASES was provided by Proposition 49, an initiative sponsored by then-private citizen Arnold Schwarzenegger and passed by voters in 2002. This initiative increased the amount of state funding by $428 million. Existing ASES grant amounts were increased to assure high-quality programs. Existing 21st Century Community Learning Center program grantees were transitioned to ASES grants, called &#8220transitional grants.” Certain schools were placed in cohorts, or groups, depending on when they applied for previous before and after school grants. New grants encompassing all public elementary, middle or junior high schools, including charter schools were authorized at the increased grant amounts, called &#8220universal grants.”

Priority was given to schools where at least half of the students qualified for free or reduced price meals. After that, if funding were still available, priority was determined by other indicators of need, including the availability of other programs in the neighborhood.

Every public elementary, middle, and junior high school in the state was eligible to apply for funding. The demand for after school programs exceeded the allocated amount by $200 million and so 1,900 schools were not funded through ASES. The California Department of Education continues to advocate that after school funding be increased to meet the demands shown by California's parents and students.

For more information on the ASES program, please visit http://www.cde.ca.gov/74099.

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