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How are Federal Dollars Being Used for Afterschool in Washington State?

by School's Out Washington | | Posted under Policy & Legislation

by Janet Schmidt, Chief Program and Policy Officer

Early in the month I was invited to participate along with many individuals from across the state on OSPI’s  21st Century Community Learning Center grant review team. We were charged with selecting programs that will receive funding for the next five years.  This year 40 proposals were submitted to OPSI for a total request of over 14 million dollars. Unfortunately, only 8-10 grantees will be successful in garnering these resources. This year OSPI will have only a little over 3.8 million of these federal dollars to distribute to new grantees. Washington estimates that it is serving only 1 in 10 kids that could benefit from these programs.  This underscores the tremendous demand for additional resources in our state for afterschool and youth development programs. Research continues to show that high quality programs can and do make a difference for kids. With our achievement gap only widening, we should be focusing greater investments in programs like these that are showing results.

Overall, Washington State receives a little over 16 million dollars form the Department of Education to support afterschool programs. Programs must meet specific criteria and offer specific services during the hours when children and youth are not in school. The programs have been chosen through a highly competitive process to provide additional academic supports and high quality enrichment activities in communities across the state. Grants are for five years and programs must have a sustainability plan in place at the end of the grant period. Currently about 25,000 children and youth are served by these critical programs and are receiving academic supports and much much more.

We must continue to advocate for these critical funds here in Washington. Conversations about changing the regulations with this funding streams will be happening this fall in Washington, D.C. Please let keep your ears and eyes open for advocacy efforts either through School’s Out Washington or the Afterschool Alliance soon!

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