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Good News in Federal Budget, While State Budget Still in Negotiation

by Stephanie Lennon | | Posted under Policy & Legislation

Congress has finally solidified the budget for 2017, ending a long process of negotiation and avoiding a government shutdown. SOWA was thrilled to see that not only was funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program not cut as expected, but actually increased funding by $25 million!

This increase over fiscal year 2016 spending puts total funding at $1.19 billion, a huge win for the afterschool and summer community, as original projections indicated proposed cuts would have eliminated access to 21st CCLC programs for 115,000 youth nationwide. Instead, the increase will make programing available nationally to 25,000 children and youth currently on waitlists to get into programs and will allow programs across our state to stay open and continue to offer high-quality programming. 

While we are thrilled by the huge win thanks to the tireless work of advocates, program providers, families, and youth, our work has only begun. President Trump’s 2018 budget proposes a total elimination of 21st CCLC programs despite the new 2017 increase. SOWA remains dedicated to continuing to fight for this critical program, and we need your help. Stay tuned for more advocacy opportunities by signing up for our action alerts and following us on Facebook. Interested in having your staff or youth write postcards to their elected officials to show your support? Contact Stephanie Lennon at slennon@schoolsoutwashington.org for more information.

To read more about the 2017 budget, visit the Afterschool Alliance’s blog, Afterschool Snack.

State Budget Still in Negotiations

The legislative session officially ended on April 23rd, without a budget or resolution for McCleary.  Governor Inslee called an immediate special session for 30 days, with additional special sessions expected negotiations continue. SOWA’s legislative priorities are still in play, and staff will continue to work to ensure they make it into the final version of the budget.

The Expanded Learning Opportunities Initiative funding appeared in the house version of the budget at $1.5 million (versus the original request of $4million), a victory during this McCleary dominated session. Career Connected Learning and Computer Science for All, two of our supported STEM initiatives, appeared in both the Governor’s budget and the house budget, while Career and Technical Education appeared in all three budgets, with the Senate version being the most inclusive of expanded learning.

Click here to show your support for Expanded Learning!

Afterschool & Summer in the News

President Trump’s proposed budget targeted afterschool programs with proposed elimination of the 21st Century Community Learning Center program. Thanks to advocacy from a broad array of individuals and organizations across the country, the budget passed by Congress not only restores but increases funding for this critical program.

The following are news stories highlighting quality programs here in Washington.

Education Focus: DelBene visits Boys & Girls Club to see program in action, Skagit Valley Herald, April 17

Trump Budget Targets Afterschool Programs, Could Hurt Working Families, Washington News Service, April 20 includes interview with programs in Kelso/Longview and Wenatchee.

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