The Senate Education Committee today approved SB 429 (DeSaulnier), which is intended to boost enrollment in summer learning programs by offering families longer program hours and allowing additional families access to summer learning programs through state and federal after-school dollars.
This is particularly critical as schools are canceling summer school due to budget cuts. SB 429 is co-sponsored by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, the Partnership for Children and Youth and Children Now.
“After-school and summer learning programs play a vital role in California’s public education system,” said Sen. Mark DeSaulnier. “These programs not only assure that children do not fall behind educationally during summer months; they also help working families assure that their children are in a safe environment in the hours after school and in the summer while parents are at work.”
“I am proud to sponsor this legislation because I have witnessed the many successes of these after school programs,” said Torlakson. “I am committed to giving schools and districts the resources they need to educate, motivate, and inspire our state’s students.”
According to Jennifer Peck, executive director of the Partnership for Children and Youth, “Summer school no longer exists in many California communities. This will result in more children falling behind academically over the summer. The after-school dollars that are dedicated to summer programs are critical in helping to fill this gap. SB 429 will maximize this existing resource by giving local programs more flexibility in how and where to operate summer learning programs, and will accomplish this at no additional cost to the state.”
In 2002, voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 49, the After School Education and Safety Act (ASES) that expanded state funding of after-school programs from $120 million to $550 million. California also administers the federal after-school program, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC), bringing California’s investment in after school programs to $670 million annually. These programs collectively serve more than 400,000 students. Both programs allocate a portion of dollars for summer learning.
Due to recent budget cuts, many school districts have been forced to severely reduce or eliminate summer school programs or close school buildings for the summer in order to save money. As a result, summer learning programs that run alongside summer school to offer tutoring, homework assistance and educational enrichment have faced significant challenges. SB 429 creates flexibility in grants for summer learning programs funded through the ASES and CCLC programs.