After-School Programming Cuts (Mackenzie Chyatte)

Context

Reference to a current Michigan bill or law that relates in some way to your proposal:

2018 Senate Bill 863: Appropriations: K-12 School Aid budget

3 (h) An amount estimated at $39,000,000.00 EACH FISCAL YEAR for 14 the purpose of providing high-quality extended learning 15 opportunities, after school and during the summer, for children in 16 low-performing schools, funded from DED-OESE, twenty-first century 17 community learning center funds. 

This bill is the 2018-2019 fiscal year Michigan School Aid Budget. While it is still in the works, it has currently allocated 39 million dollars for after school and summer programming, including 21rst Century Community Learning Center funds. However, this amount is not enough to adequately support all of the K-12 Michigan students that require after school programming.

Why this proposal will make a difference in the lives of students of all ages across Michigan, or a significant subgroup (by age, background, economic status, and/or region, etc.) of students in Michigan:

This proposal will make a difference in the lives of K-12 students in Michigan that are lower socio-economic class or have parents/family that are unable to care for them directly after school. Funding more 21rst CCLC programs will take more kids off the street and place them in safe environments where they can work on homework and participate in other activities.

How and where did you learn about the issues underlying your proposal?

I learned about the issues underlying my proposal through my service activity: 826 Michigan. I volunteer at the 826 Michigan Robot Shop once a week after school tutoring children. It was there that I learned there were thousands of children in Michigan that needed after school programming- but there wasn’t enough funding to fully serve all of the kids. Once I began to research the topic, I discovered President Trump’s proposal to cut funding for after school programming. Although his proposed budget for after school programming was not passed, after-school programming often goes overlooked in government, and there is still a significant need for after school program funding in Michigan.

How has your service activity influenced your thinking about this proposal?

My service activity of 826 Michigan has influenced my thinking about this proposal because it allows me to see firsthand how effective after school programming can be for students. They have a safe and comfortable environment where they can review tough school subjects and receive extra help on their homework, and build their writing skills, reinforcing and extending their education. In addition, the program provides snacks, which can especially benefit children from low income households, especially those that qualify for the free lunch program. Without 826 Michigan, many of these students would be unsupervised after school and continue to struggle in classes they need extra help in. Before my service activity, I was not aware of the need for after school programming, especially in Michigan.

Link to your media artifact(s) giving background on the issue:

My news article on Federal After-School Programming Cuts

Consultations

Talk directly with at least 3 real live people who have special knowledge about this topic or the impact your proposal would have, and summarize their comments. These may include people appearing in your media artifact (video, podcast, etc.).

CONSULTATION 1: Catherine at 826 Michigan (service requirement)

826 Michigan currently serves 3,265 kids, but this amount reaches almost 4,000 some years. They have 517 unique volunteers and 108 teachers that participate in the program, and is almost completely volunteer driven. The Michigan chapter has locations in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Detroit, but their parent organization 826 is spread across the country.  According to Catherine, there are a lot of great resources in Michigan for after school programming, but transportation is a big issue. Due to transportation difficulties, many kids are unable to access after-school programming, as organizations such as 826 Michigan are unable to transport students to their locations. There is a large need for after school programs located in school facilities, but private organizations like 826 Michigan cannot hold programs at school locations regularly.

826 Michigan would not have had the capacity to absorb students if President Trump’s proposed bill had passed. 826 Michigan differentiates itself from other after school programs by focusing on student writing and composition, encouraging students to pursue creative projects. In the future, 826 Michigan would like to have more youth-driven spaces, similar to the Ann Arbor Neutral Zone.

CONSULTATION 2: Molly Alexis Berwanger - site coordinator at Bright Futures (21rst CCLC)

Bright Futures is a multi-location 21rst CCLC program based out of Eastern Michigan University (EMU). Most of the programs are for elementary students, but there are also two middle school programs and one high school program. The high school Bright Futures program meets every week from Monday to Thursday for 2.5 hours. They have been running for 6 years and have an average of 30-35 students everyday. Other locations see around 50 students a day due to the fact that they can’t leave until their parents’ pick them up, unlike high school students who often drive themselves. Bright Futures is unique in that it is located at the high school and has its own space attached to the cafeteria. This consistent space allows the program to build strong relationships and be a dependable presence in the students lives. The program offers both academic time and club time daily for the students.

Academic time includes homework, college prep and writing workshops which are managed by teachers and other paid staff. The club time is dedicated to a variety of different clubs the students choose and curate, with paid specialists occasionally visiting. Some of the clubs are: arts, STEM, baking, improv, leadership and “Real Talk,” a club that meets once a week and provides a space for students to talk openly about their issues and feelings without feeling judged.

Bright Futures differentiates itself from other 21rst CCLC programs through a few key aspects. Each site has a full time coordinator with a teaching certificate, so they are there every day of the school week and have full training. The physical location ensures that students are able to easily access the programs without any transportation difficulties. In addition, they are the only full time after school program in the state- they run from September to August yearly. The application process (for funding? Elaborate what this means) for 21rst CCLCs is both competitive and difficult, and Bright Futures focuses on data- based information and planning to ensure their success.

Molly had faith that the budget cuts would not pass, as she believes that 21rst CCLCs are highly respected on both sides of the aisle. Every year, there is a threat to cut the funding for the schools but it never actually succeeds. The argument that President Trump used: “nearly 60 percent of students attend 21st CCLC for fewer than 30 days a year, suggesting that the majority of families with participating students do not use the program for childcare” is not necessarily true, as grant funding is based on the number of students that regularly attend. The program keeps track of students that attend everyday, stay for 30, 60 or 90 days and organizes their participation. Higher numbers of attendance are seen in younger students, since they rely on their parents for transportation.

CONSULTATION 3: Representative Adam Zemke

The Michigan Student Aid Fund (SAF) was created in 1963 and it is a protected fund that is funded by Michigan income, sales and property taxes. As a result, the fund grows during stronger economies and shrinks during weaker times. Money is deposited directly by the state treasury and it is “painfully” clear that it is not generating enough money to fund public education. In the past, there have been disagreements over whether the SAF money should go to K-12 education or higher education (universities and colleges). Funding for the 21rst Century Community Learning Centers can be covered by this fund as it pertains to K-12 educational development.

A school aid budget is created and assessed annually, which includes the entire state’s K- 12 school budget. This budget is made up of SAF funds and Michigan General Fund money. To fund 21rst CCLCs, do not look at raising taxes or restructuring the tax code, rather focus on funds that already exist. 21rst CCLCs are a priority because they help kids whose families have fewer resources. Not only does it cut down on juvenile criminal justice issues, but it is a great extension of work that is done during the day.

A STEM education initiative Rep Zemke has worked on called MISTEM is similar. The program is upgrading and repurposing Michigan math and science centers for K- 12 kids. The previous system had a poor delivery system that was fragmented, and it was hard to get dollars where they were needed. In addition, there were very few ways of evaluating the quality of individual programs and being able to successfully compare them. This new program ensures there is a high-quality grant funding stream and effective checks and balances. They increased the amount of grant money for these programs and restructured an existing system. There was pushback due to fear of the positive programs losing their successful initiatives, but ultimately the legislation was passed.

In Michigan, there isn’t a lot of opposition against after school programming, from a policy perspective. Actually, the opposition is more about the funding and how to find the money for these programs. My bill should not focus on what other programs will lose funding if 21rst CCLC programs gain funding from the SAF. Further, instead of placing 21rst CCLC program funding under the At Risk School Aid program, I should be more broad in my funding and focus on the state’s large School Aid Fund.  

CONSULTATION 4: Lynn Malinoff, Director of Bright Futures

The recent legislation that was passed increased the funding for 21rst CCLC programs by 20 million dollars. This however is not enough to even fund an extra grant program, as it is split over 50 states. The grant process to request federal funds is through the Michigan Department of Education, with each grant lasting 5 years. The time requirements are intense with 2.5 hours a day, 4 days a week, 32 weeks a school year and 6 weeks during the summer. The grant process has not changed significantly over the years, the largest change was moving from paper to digital. Since Bright Futures has been around for a while, they remain competitive for the grants. Every Michigan grant is $675,000 with up to 5 schools in a grant (giving each school roughly $135,000).

The elementary and middle schools have to be licensed day cares, but the high school after school programs do not need that licensing. The lower schools have different attendance because the children rely on parents for picking up, whereas the high schoolers have more freedom. Due to this, there are occasionally waitlists at the younger programs- for the very popular programs. The waitlist is only 20-25 children. These programs are not usually found in communities like Ann Arbor as they are specifically for low income and low performing school districts- that is why Bright Futures does not have an Ann Arbor location.

Transportation would take about 1/3 to ¼ of the current sites’ budget. To rent a school bus for a few hours is a couple hundred dollars. Kids clearly do not live next to the schools as they are bused there and adding more transportation to the mix will increase prices exponentially.  The “sweet spot” of funding (in a perfect world) is $150,000 per site, where the current $135,000 is stretching it. This number does not include transportation which would warrant another $25,000-$30,000 per site.

Yearly competition for grants can be either very high or low depending on how many grant spots there are. Last year there were only 6/7 grants available. This year there are 17/18. The numbers can range anywhere from 6- 30 available grants annually. However, there has not been 30 grants in a long time, since funding was cut significantly. The grants and their applications are capped at $135,000, which is stretching it pretty thin. Some applications claim they can do it with $110,000, but that is almost impossible.

Prospectus:

Describe the specific issue or problem, being sure to provide sufficient context so that someone less familiar with the issue has a sense of the bigger picture, but know that your focus here is on a more detailed spelling out of the specific problem or issue that you’ve identified. (250 words minimum)

My prospectus

21rst Community Learning Centers Program Funding Cuts

Although President Trump proposed to cut funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program (CCLC) in his 2019 projected budget plan, he signed a Congress-approved budget that actually raised the federal amount for this program. However, the federal funding for this program is not enough to support all of the children in need of after school programming. Thousands of children in the United States depend on after school programming for extra tutoring and hands-on learning experience. With 210,000 Michigan students enrolled in after school programming and 625,000 Michigan students waiting for an open program, CCLCs are crucial for the future of Michigan. (Afterschool Alliance) The CCLC program awards grants to community learning centers that are generally “high-priority and low-income schools.” (Michigan.gov) Funded through theEvery Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the CCLC program gives support and programming to Michigan students in need.

Without the CCLC program, students who are struggling in classes will be unable to attain the extra help they need. According to a study by Michigan State University, 73% of Michigan CCLC students improved in homework completion and class participation. (MSU) This isn’t the only bonus of after school programs- 66% of Michigan parents say that these programs “help them keep their jobs.” (Afterschool Alliance)

I want to address the children who are still unable to attend after school programming, due to financial restrictions. Even with the funding increase, Michigan should fund the part of the programs that federal funding does not cover. The state of Michigan must find room in their budget to ensure the state’s future residents have the education and programming they need.

Sources:

http://afterschoolalliance.org/policyStateFacts.cfm?state=MI

http://www.michigan.gov/mde/0,4615,7-140-63533_71669---,00.html

Potential Solutions:

Describe three reasonable, feasible potential solutions or approaches that would help address this problem.

SOLUTION 1: State matched funding 

After attending a town hall with Rebecca DeVooght, I learned of a potential state and school district bipartisan funding solution. If the school districts will cover 25% of the costs for the afterschool programs, then the state government will match and cover the rest of the programs’ cost (75%). According to the Afterschool Alliance, there are 278 Michigan communities served by 21rst Century Community Learning Centers. (Afterschool Alliance) Once broken into school districts, the districts will be able to allocate funds from their budgets to meet the 25% requirement. The state government can meet the 75% requirement by allocating funds from the annual Michigan School Aid Fund budget. The School Aid Fund budget was created in 1963 and is used exclusively for “school districts, higher education, and school employee's retirement systems.” (Michigan Government) The 21rst century community learning centers fall under the jurisdiction of this fund’s budget.

Currently, for one 21rst CCLC site, the budget is $135,000 for 5 years. This is the lowest possible dollar amount a site can operate on. In order to ensure sites are successfully running and have no issues with budgeting, I propose the number should be raised to $150,000 per site (over 5 years). In addition, transportation per site per 5 years can range from $30,000 to $40,000. If there is not adequate room in the state budget or the districts for these increases, I propose the Michigan Department of Education places more weight (while deciding their grant winners) on programs that are located close or in the actual school locations. This will reduce transportation costs and ensure that students will be able to access the programs.

http://www.michigan.gov/budget/0,4538,7-157-21329_21338-53309--,00.html

SOLUTION 2: Private funding similar to 826 Michigan 

After speaking with a consultant at my service location 826 Michigan, I came up with a funding solution that emulates their current financial system of private donations and charities. 826 Michigan is a local branch of a nationwide non-profit writing and tutoring organization. The 21rst CCLC programs will be privately funded through their communities, like 826 Michigan’s current model. To incentivize local residents, the state will create a program that gives tax credits to those who donate to the centers. While obviously donating to these centers is not at the level of taking care of a child full time, this tax credit can emulate the Child Tax Credit system. The Child Tax Credit declares that if the filer has a dependent child, they can qualify up to $1000 per child in credits. (IRS) The tax incentive solution to the 21rst CCLC programs would have a lower credit threshold but would be based on per child basis as well. If someone donates enough money to support a child on a quarterly or annual basis, they are eligible for one child in tax credits. This can be increased as the amount of money donated increases.  

https://www.826michigan.org/get-involved/donate/friends-of-826michigan/

https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/ten-facts-about-the-child-tax-credit

SOLUTION 3: Creating a Caucus

Instead of looking specifically at budgets and money for solutions, a caucus could be created to make it clear how important after school programs are to lawmakers. Representatives can create a state-level after school program caucus that emulates the US Senate’s and House of Representatives’ Afterschool Alliance caucus. Afterschool Alliance is a national nonprofit organization like Afterschool Alliance to convince congress to keep the 21rst CCLC programs funded.

http://afterschoolalliance.org/policyStateFacts.cfm?state=MI

Reaction or advice from a Topic Coordinator:

You must solicit a critique from a topic coordinator, and explain the impact that advice has had on the final draft of this proposal.

After reading Lizzy Stone’s comments on my proposal and speaking with her on the phone, I have made some changes to my final proposal. I have updated some of my clauses to reflect the specific type of after-school programming I am focusing on. A number of 21rst CCLC programs, specifically Bright Futures, emphases both academic and non-academic learning. This ensures that the students will receive a strong well-rounded education outside of the normal school day. In addition, Lizzy’s links helped me better understand how after school programming can specifically help lower SES families and keep juvenile crimes down. Her questions about my three solutions led me to recognizing the most effective solution is Solution #1, where the programs are state funded. Lastly, Luke Hoffman’s comments on my proposal allowed me to better form my questions for my pending consult with a 21rst CCLC grant writer.

Research process:

Describe your research process — indicate who you talked to (including but not limited to consultants), what you read, what your thinking was, how it changed over time, and how your consultants changed your thinking. This description of your research process definitely could include “dead ends,” or ideas you had that didn’t ultimately bear fruit.  In short, we want to know what you did and how it led to your legislation, and we also want you to give us a window into your thought process.


I spoke to a number of people at my service activity, 826 Michigan. That was where my proposal topic began to form, because a number of volunteers would talk about after school programming. Once I started researching the topic, I discovered the 21rst Century Community Learning Center program under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) under President Obama. I initially wrote my proposal to counter act President Trump’s 2019 budget proposal that completely gutted the funding for 21rst CCLC programs. Once congress blocked his proposal and more funding was awarded to this after school programming, I changed the premise of my proposal. Despite a federal increase in money for these programs, there are still thousands of students that need safe after-school programming in Michigan. My proposal shifted to acknowledging the increase but arguing for even more funding- this time from the state.

I spoke to four consultants: the site coordinator at 826 Michigan, a site coordinator at a 21rst Century Community Learning Center, the director of Bright Futures and Michigan Representative Adam Zemke. Each consultant gave me a different perspective on the issue and potential solutions. Catherine at 826 Michigan informed me of after school programming statistics and services. Their privately funded organization supports many Michigan students, but they are unable to bring their programs to the schools. I learned it is not only funding, but it also location and transportation that is an issue for many students. I then spoke to someone who works daily at a 21rst CCLC program, to better understand how it operates. Lynn at Bright Futures (21rst CCLC program) educated me on grant processes, dollar amounts required and holistic approaches to education. Molly at Bright Futures (21rst CCLC program) educated me on the daily schedules of 21rst CCLC programs and the communities they foster. Their program is physically based in a high school, allowing them to remove the issue of transportation and location. She was not worried about the cutting of funding, because this program is highly supported on both sides of the aisle. That led me to start thinking maybe it’s not about the cutting, but rather the amount of funding. Ultimately, the type of programming 21rst CCLC programs offer is a great mix of both academic and non-academic. Offering extra help in the classroom and a variety of clubs and activities makes 21rst CCLC programs unique in their approach to education.

During a Town Hall, I spoke with Rebecca DeVooght about how to approach the issue in terms of funding. She advised that I should propose the state pays for 75% of the costs and the districts cover 25%. The state would fund their side through the Student Aid Fund. Lastly, Representative Zemke helped me understand state funding and the process of changing current systems. He advised me that I should look for a solution in already existing money and not look for money through raising taxes. He then gave me the idea that if the Student Aid Fund does not cover all of the funds this proposal needs, I can look at the Michigan General Fund. I discovered there is currently a bill in the works that covers 21rst CCLC funding for the 2018-2019 fiscal year: Michigan Senate Bill 863. My proposal will be an amendment to that bill, stating that the 39 million dollars given to after-school and summer programming is not enough.

Since I did not have actual dollar amounts, I received further insight about a five year budget of Bright Futures, a 21rst CCLC, from a program director and grant writer. She broke down the current budgets and the best case scenario budgets that these programs could want. She also shed light on the competitive nature of the grant processes for 21rst CCLCs in Michignan specifically. In addition she gave me important dollar amounts regarding transportation for students for each site (on a 5 year plan). Armed with this new information, I was able to flesh out my third solution with actual numbers to increase the state funding by.

 

Author contributions:

Please delineate--in detail--who made what contributions to the process and to the finished proposal? Who took on which responsibilities in researching ideas, drafting language, etc.?

I, Mackenzie did all of the work for this proposal including but not limited to interviewing consultants, conducting research and writing the proposal and its additional works.

===FORMAL PROPOSAL===

The sections below should comprise your final proposal language, submitted for consideration by your peers and potential inclusion in the MSC Platform.

Preambulatory clauses

These set up the PROBLEM, but not the solution.

WHEREAS.... 625,026 Michigan students are waiting for an opening in an after school-program.

WHEREAS....After-school programs that are not located at the actual schools are harder to reach for students.There is not currently enough funding for transportation to and from after-school programming. 

WHEREAS....Legislators on both a state level and a federal level measure the success of after-school programs through higher scores and grades in terms of state academic standards.  

(Add more "Whereas" clauses if necessary.)

Operative clauses

These describe in detail, the solution you are proposing (not the problem itself; those should go in the "Whereas" clauses above).

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED....

1. Funding should be appropriated from the Michigan Student Aid Fund and the Michigan General Fund

2. A grant increase from $135,000 per site per five years should increase to $150,000. In addition, if the state and district are able to, increase $30,000-$40,000 per site for transportation. If that is not possible, favor programs that are located in schools more than programs in other locations.   

3. Leglislators should recognize that having a holistic approach to education is more important than immediate increase in grades and tests. With this recogniztion, they will support increases in funding to 21rst CCLC programs when the legislation is voted on. 

 

Counter-arguments:

What are three reasonable arguments against this proposal?

1. 21rst CCLC programs provide no advantage to students trying to meet state academic standards.

2. The funds for this proposal found in the state budget will take away from other school related funding for K-12.

3.­ More than half of children who attend 21rst CCLC programs attend for less than 30 days a year, demonstrating that families don’t use this program for childcare for continual afterschool programs.

Costs and funding:

What will your proposal cost (in direct expenses, lost tax revenue, lost economic opportunity, and/or non-monetary costs)? How will you pay for your proposed legislation? Where will/could the funding for your proposal come from?  Who might object to dedicating resources to your proposal (competing interests)?  

My proposal will not cost tax payers anything more, as it will come out of discretionary funds that already exist. This legislation will be funded by the Michigan School Aid Fund and the Michigan General Fund. Governor Rick Snyder might object to dedicating these funds to my proposal, as he in the past few years has proposed legislation to take money away from the School Aid Fund. Ultimately, giving Michigan students a well rounded and holistic approach to education will benefit society in the long run. These funds will be offset by a generation that grows up with creative outlets and holisitic approaches to education and life in general.

References:

California Bill 

Ken Robinson Ted Talk

Afterschool Alliance

EMU Institute For Study Source from Lynn 

http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/documents/factsResearch/21stCCLC_Factsheet.pdf

https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/msar-fy2019.pdf

http://www.statewideafterschoolnetworks.net/

http://www.michigan.gov/budget/0,4538,7-157-21329_21338-53309--,00.html

http://emubrightfutures.org/

https://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/ba/as/cefafterschool.asp

http://www.mlpp.org/gains-for-low-income-and-early-learners-in-2016-school-aideducation-budgets

https://www.freep.com/story/opinion/columnists/nancy-kaffer/2016/12/08/michigan-school-funding/95144852/

http://michiganvotes.org/2018-SB-863

https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_49,_Funding_for_Before_and_After_School_Programs_(2002)

http://www.michigan.gov/snyder/0,4668,7-277--321385--,00.html

http://www.michigan.gov/budget/0,4538,7-157-11462---,00.html

http://www.mlpp.org/helping-children-succeed-through-michigans-at-risk-program

https://www.schoolsoutwashington.org/pages/save-21st-century-community-learning-centers

http://www.michigan.gov/mde/0,4615,7-140-63533_71669---,00.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/trump-budget-casualty-afterschool-programs-for-16-million-kids-most-are-poor/2017/03/16/78802430-0a6f-11e7-b77c-0047d15a24e0_story.html?utm_term=.df2562e8f405

http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2017/08/how_one_student_benefited_from.html

https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/education-k-12/news/2018/02/12/446423/trump-devos-continue-undermine-public-education-proposed-fiscal-year-2019-budget/

https://www.826michigan.org/get-involved/donate/friends-of-826michigan/

https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/youthviolence/pdf/opportunities-for-action.pdf



 

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Total votes: 33

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