By City News Service from the LA Daily News | http://bit.ly/1LBBCQA
Advocates for the programs warned today that without extra funding, as many as 50,000 LAUSD students could be shut out of after-school services in the next year.
The president of LA’s BEST, which provides after-school programming for about 25,000 LAUSD students, described the current funding level as “an existential threat.”
“Despite cuts and raising as much private funds as possible, we are facing a deficit of more than $1 million this school year and, without a state increase, three times that amount next year. It’s simply unsustainable,” Eric Gurna said.
Councilman David Ryu, who authored the resolution, called for the state Legislature to pass the bill and for Gov. Jerry Brown to sign it during a rally outside City Hall today after the council’s vote.
After-school programs have been strapped for funding in recent years, which has hurt their ability to “attract and retain quality staff,” Ryu said. This has in turn “resulted in reduced staffing hours, reduced professional development, the abandonment of specialized instruction and fewer spaces for children.”
Councilwoman Nury Martinez, Councilman Bob Blumenfield, LAUSD board member George McKenna and other local elected officials joined after-school program providers at today’s City Hall rally.
The funding for the after-school programs was set up through the approval by voters in 2002 of Proposition 49. The After School Education and Safety Program began in 2006 and currently offers services to 400,000 students around the state, typically at schools where 80 percent of the students are eligible for free or reduce-cost meals.
According to Cooper’s bill, after-school program operating costs and the minimum wage have increased since 2006, when the funding started, but the daily rate per participant has remained at $7.50.
The sponsor of the bill is California After School Advocacy Alliance, or C3, which has a membership that includes after-school programs like LA’s Best, California Alliance of YMCAs, Woodcraft Rangers and others.
The group is pushing for the daily rate to go from $7.50 to $8.50 a day per participant.