Representatives and supporters of after-school services rallied Friday on the Los Angeles City Hall lawn in support of a bill that would increase funding for California’s After School Education and Safety programs.
California’s after-school providers are facing a deficit that will drive one in four programs to close by 2020, according to the advocates, who contend that Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed budget does not include sufficient funding for the programs.
“The after-school programs that serve nearly half a million children every day in our most underserved communities are in peril,” said Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo, D-Los Angeles. “That’s why I, joined by my colleagues, authored legislation that aims to not only save after-school programs now, but protect them in the future. We look to our peers in the California Assembly and Senate now to do the same.”
Carrillo’s AB 1725 includes a provision that would appropriate an additional $112,800,000 from the general fund to the State Department of Education in the 2019-20 fiscal year for the After School Education and Safety program, which provides students in low-income communities with access to after-school programs.
Los Angeles Unified School District board members Nick Melvoin and Scott Schmerelson joineded Carrillo at the City Hall news conference and rally, as did City Council members David Ryu and Monica Rodriguez.
In a survey of 1,000 parents with children in after-school programs, 98% reported that they are able to keep their job or take care of other responsibilities because their kids are in a safe after-school program, and 89% of parents reported that they would not be able to afford after-school services if a free program did not exist, according to the California Afterschool Advocacy Alliance.
“We know that after-school programs produce results,” said Eric Gurna, president and CEO of the LA’s BEST Afterschool Enrichment Program. “We see it time and again across graduation rates, attendance rates, juvenile crime and beyond — yet, we’re facing a multimillion-dollar deficit that threatens to undo our work, close our doors, and leave thousands of students with no where to go. We need solutions, and we need them fast.”
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