Cicilline, Young Call for Extra Afterschool and Summer Learning Funding

Mar 19, 2020

WASHINGTON – Democratic Policy and Communications Committee Chair David N. Cicilline (RI-01) and Congressman Don Young (AK-AL), co-chair of the House Afterschool Caucus, led a bipartisan request today with 48 members to House leaders crafting the next round of emergency funding asking for an immediate increase of $500 million for 21st Century Community Learning Centers to provide necessary relief to families and educators affected by the growing pandemic.

 

“As the coronavirus pandemic continues to worsen, schools throughout Rhode Island and across America have been forced to close their doors, some for the rest of the year,” Congressman Cicilline said. “This trend means that high quality afterschool and summer programs will be even more necessary to provide young people with a safe, enriching place to learn and grow. We have an obligation to ensure that these programs have additional funding to meet the needs of America’s children.”

 

“Countless families rely on afterschool programs to take care of Alaska’s young people, particularly through the nutritious snacks and meals they provide” said Congressman Young. “The Coronavirus outbreak is having devastating impacts on afterschool programs across the country, and it is critical that they receive the funding necessary to support children during this difficult time for our nation. As Co-Chair of the House Afterschool Caucus, I am calling on House Leadership to provide an additional $500 million to support the 21st Century Community Learning Centers. We must get it done for the sake of our children and our country’s future.”

 

Currently, more than 2 million children and families rely on 21st Century Community Learning Centers for afterschool and summer learning programming. With schools across the country closing, many students are unable to obtain services provided by out-of-school programs, including academic assistance, a safe place to be when their parents are working, and access to a hot meal or healthy snack.

 

“As Congress moves forward on a new recovery package to assist those affected by the coronavirus pandemic, we ask that you assist families affected by the closing of schools and afterschool programs,” the bipartisan group of members wrote. “Given the constraints placed on families, and youth serving organizations, we ask that you provide an additional $500 million for the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers program.”

 

The full text of the letter that the members sent is embedded below. A digital version of the letter can be accessed by clicking here.

 

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March 19, 2020

 

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi

Speaker of the House

U.S. House of Representatives

H-233, U.S. Capitol

Washington, DC 20515                                                    

 

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy

Minority Leader

U.S. House of Representatives

H-204, U.S. Capitol

Washington, DC 20515

 

The Honorable Nita M. Lowey

Chairwoman

House Committee on Appropriations

H-307, U.S. Capitol

Washington, DC 20515                                                                     

 

The Honorable Kay Granger

Ranking Member

House on Appropriations

1016 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

                       

 

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader McCarthy, Chairwoman Lowey, and Ranking Member Granger:

 

As Congress moves forward on a new recovery package to assist those affected by the coronavirus pandemic, we ask that you assist families affected by the closing of schools and afterschool programs.  Given the constraints placed on families, and youth serving organizations, we ask that you provide an additional $500 million for the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers program.

 

As states move to close schools throughout the country, we must remember the families who rely on out-of-school learning and community programs.  More than two million children and families rely on afterschool and summer learning programs which receive funding through the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers program.  Not only do these programs provide youth with the opportunity to obtain critical academic and life skills and help provide better academic outcomes for students, they also provide a critical sense of relief for parents who know that their children are safe and cared for in the hours that they are working.  The ongoing crisis has placed a severe burden on youth serving organizations, including non-profits, faith-based organizations, private providers.  Additional resources will be needed to minimize the economic impact on employers and employees, provide families with reimbursements for emergency disruptions in programming, offset the cost of deep cleaning and sanitizing facilities, and maintaining educational and nutrition services to students that would normally be in school. 

 

These programs will need to ensure that young people receive the support they need in the long term.  This will mean that Summer programs this Summer, and afterschool programs next fall will have to accommodate more students, meaning that additional programs will need to be supported.  Resources will be needed to ensure that quality learning programs will be available to the most vulnerable populations.  By providing a short-term increase of $500 million for 21st Century Community Learning Centers, an additional 500,000 students from Pre-K through high school will be able to access these programs.

 

We thank you for your leadership during this time of crisis, and for your continued support of students and families.

 

Sincerely,