The Importance of After-School Programs
Many after-school programs receive public funding from the governmental organization 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC), which helps provide lower-income students with opportunities for after-school activities they wouldn't otherwise have access to. In 2009, the Bush administration proposed to cut funding for after-school activities by $281 million, or 26 percent, for the 2009 budget, sparking an outpouring of letters, emails, and phone calls to Congress. Tens of thousands of students, parents, and community members have been showing their support for after-school funding, insisting that it is essential to communities across the nation.
Unfortunately, funding for these programs still falls short. Almost one-half of afterschool program leaders report their budget is inadequate to meet the needs of students and families. Funding for 21st CCLC is currently $1.54 billion, less than half of the authorized $2.5 billion, and about 6 in 10 programs report a loss in funding due to the recession, with 1 in 10 reporting a significant loss that will cause cutbacks to the program or cause one or more sites to close.