Congress has reportedly reached an agreement on a FY17 spending bill to fund the current fiscal year. If the bill is passed by the House and Senate, and signed into law by the President (scheduled to happen this week), we would see some good opportunities for continued support of summer learning.
Some major wins for summer programs in the budget:
- Most important to our network, funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Center Program was increased by $25 million to $1.19 billion. This increase is a testament to your outreach on the significance of this program to your work and your students, and we thank you for these efforts!
- Title I was funded at $15.5 billion, a $550 million increase above FY16 (however, this increase absorbed funding from the elimination of the School Improvement Grants program).
- The Pell summer grants program was restored, allowing students to use these grants year-round and complete their studies more quickly.
Several important programs that support summer opportunities were preserved at their current levels of funding from FY16:
- AmeriCorps was level-funded at $386 million
- Full Service Community Schools was level-funded at $10 million
- Promise Neighborhoods were level-funded at $73.25 million
- Migrant Education was level-funded at $374.75 million
- Youth training under the Department of Labor (which include summer youth employment) was level-funded at $873 million
Our biggest disappointment was the allocation of just $400 million for the new Title IV Part A (Student Support and Academic Enrichment) grant program within the Every Student Succeeds Act. Additionally, the structure of the program is changed to a competitive grant program at the state level, and without the comprehensive community needs assessment that was originally intended. Our coalition has reluctantly accepted these compromises for the current year only and will continue fighting for the full funding needed for robust, equitable, and community-informed programming as originally intended in ESSA.
Don’t forget that FY17 is just the beginning! This omnibus bill funds the government through September 2017, and talks over the FY18 budget are already underway. The Trump budget framework calls for the elimination of 21stCCLC and other critical programs, and we must keep up the pressure to continue and fully fund these programs in future years, knowing that there is robust evidence of their effectiveness.
One thing you can do to make Congress aware of the importance of these programs is invite your elected officials to visit your programs this summer! Check out 2017 Summer Learning Day resources coming soon for additional ideas on how to make a splash this summer.