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What Do the Election Results Mean for Afterschool?

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

By David Beard, School’s Out Washington Education Policy & Advocacy Director

The 2014 election was a landslide election for Republicans at the national level and was a good election for Republicans at the state level. Both the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate will be controlled by Republicans. Republicans in the Washington State Senate will now have outright control of that chamber. At the moment the Washington State House of Representatives looks to be controlled by Democrats, however, many races remain too close to call. We should know final results later this month.

For afterschool, summer, and expanded learning programs, the new Republican majorities could spell changes for federal funding and policy. The President will retain veto power, however, the federal budget will be created by Congress and lots of negotiating will take place. In areas of disagreement, neither side will get what they want exclusively. If recent iterations of the Elementary and Secondary Reauthorization Act (ESEA, aka No Child Left Behind) are any indication, Congress may propose to decrease and block grant federal education dollars to states. This could eliminate funding for programs like 21st Century Learning Centers and funding streams like Title I, but could allow states to determine how all their federal dollars are used which has the potential to benefit out-of-school time with strong advocacy. For more in-depth analysis of how Congress could affect afterschool, check out this post from the Afterschool Alliance.

In Washington State, the new make of up the legislature will impact the state two-year budget including the nearly $2 billion needed to fund the McCleary education mandate from the state Supreme Court. Legislators and the Governor will need to decide what is considered ‘education’ and how it gets funded through measures like spending cuts, closing tax loop holes, raising revenues, or some mix. This will be a critical year not only for education, but also for ensuring that the state budget supports out-of-school time programs and all the other services children and families need.

Stay tuned for our Schools Out Washington’s Action Alerts that will put you in the front seat, driving federal and state policy and funding to afterschool, summer, and expanded learning programs. Your voice and the voice of your staff, schools, parents, and youth will be critical now more than ever!

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