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Stagnant funding hurts after-school programs, survey finds

Thuyen Hoang, 10, left, Nang Moon, 10, and Julianna Lopez, 8, "squish" the bag of liquid polymers to form a solid, bouncing ball at an after-school program at Garfield Elementary School in Oakland. (Photo by Liv Ames)

Thuyen Hoang, 10, left, Nang Moon, 10, and Julianna Lopez, 8, “squish” the bag of liquid polymers to form a solid, bouncing ball at an after-school program at Garfield Elementary School in Oakland. (Photo by Liv Ames)

Stagnant funding is making it difficult for after-school programs to retain and attract high-quality staff and is reducing the number of enrichment activities, such as field trips or arts programs, offered to low-income students, according to a survey released Monday by thePartnership for Children & Youth.

Many after-school programs for elementary and middle school students rely on California’sAfter School Education and Safety Program, which was implemented in 2006 to provide academic support, exercise and hands-on learning activities for students. The daily rate of $7.50 per student has not increased since then, partly because the law does not contain a cost-of-living adjustment.

Meanwhile, since 2006 the California Consumer Price Index has increased by more than 17 percent, and the state’s minimum wage is set to rise to $10 an hour next year. And many cities require employers to pay substantially more than $10 an hour as a minimum.

In addition, “there is a high-level of unmet need” for these programs, with 60 percent of those responding to the survey saying their programs had waiting lists, according to Jessica Gunderson, policy director for the Partnership for Children & Youth, a nonprofit based in Oakland that advocates for expanded learning programs.

Read the full story on EdSource.

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