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21st Century Community Learning Center Appropriations FY20
Dear Chairman Blunt and Ranking Member Murray; and Chairwoman DeLauro and Ranking Member Cole:

The local, state and national organizations listed below representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia thank you for supporting increased funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers(CCLC) (Title IV Part B of the Every Student Succeeds Act) in fiscal year 2019 allowing an additional 10,000 students to access quality afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs.

Unfortunately the President’s fiscal year 2020 budget request proposed eliminating funding for the 21st CCLC program for a third year in a row potentially leaving 1.7 million students without an afterschool program to attend after the school day ends. This will particularly affect working families who depend on these programs. As a result, we call on your Committees to again work in a bipartisan manner to reject the Administration’s proposed elimination of 21st CCLC and provide $1.32 billion in funding in the fiscal year 2020 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (LHHS) appropriations bills.

For every child in an afterschool program, two are waiting to get in. In rural communities, three children are waiting for every child enrolled. A modest increase of 8 percent in funding for 21st CCLC will be a first step to addressing the growing demand for afterschool and summer opportunities for young people. With $100 million in additional funding, local school and community-based providers of afterschool and summer learning programs will be able to extend the opportunity of quality programming to an additional 100,000 students (meeting 1% more of demand) in high-need rural, urban and suburban communities.

Federal 21stCCLC formula grants to states enable communities to leverage local resources by providing 3-5 years of funding to support community partnerships among community-based organizations, faith-based partners, private industry, and school partners (public, private, and charters). The funding from 21st CCLC provides a foundation of afterschool and summer programming and enables communities to attract other partners and resources for students including access to mentors, new learning opportunities, nutritious snacks and meals, and in some places medical, dental and mental health programs. Between 2006 and 2010, these grants leveraged more than $1 billion in partner contributions, yet on average, 2 out of every 3 requests for funding Community Learning Centers cannot be awarded at the state level due to lack of adequate federal funding.

While reflecting the needs of local communities, 21st CCLCs expand student access to activities and services designed to reinforce and complement the regular academic program, such as: hands on learning, physical activity, workforce development opportunities including gaining knowledge and skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) , drug and violence prevention programs, counseling programs, the arts, and more.

In addition, the outcomes of 21st CCLC funded afterschool and summer learning programs are unmistakable. Students who regularly participate in 21st Century Community Learning Centers improve their school attendance, class participation and behavior, homework completion, and reading and math achievement scores and grades. Quality afterschool programming prepares students for college and the workforce, as demonstrated through evaluation reports from 21st Century Community Learning Center programs across states:

• Texas: Students participating in Texas’ 21st CCLC afterschool programs, referred to as the Afterschool Centers on Education (ACE), regularly participating students had a 19% lower absence rate than those who did not participate. The longer students were in the program, the greater the impact reducing disciplinary incidents (by 23%) and increasing grade promotion (by up to 97%).

• California: A statewide longitudinal evaluation of the After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens (ASSETs) program—California’s high school component of the 21st CCLC program—found that students participating in the ASSETs program performed better on the ELA and math sections of state tests than non-participants.

Given the tremendous need for and impact of quality afterschool and summer programs, we call on your subcommittees and Congress to pave the way for an appropriations increase for 21st CCLC without negatively impacting other education programs, by agreeing upon a new budget deal for fiscal year 2020 that will raise the non-defense discretionary (NDD) funding caps and adequately fund the Labor-HHS-Ed bill.

Thank you for your ongoing support of children and families nationwide and supporting an increase of $100 million for 21st CCLC in FY2020.

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