Districts will have one year to plan 9-hour-a-day, 30-day summer programs

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Governor Gavin Newsom and one of the most ambitious and costly educational programs in the California State Legislature, elementary school days and class extensions, won’t happen this year, at least in most districts.

And it didn’t matter now that the Legislature and the Newsom administration were funding to get started right away.

School districts and charter schools say they are struggling to find enough teachers, substitute teachers, bus drivers and Covid contact tracers to fill existing and new jobs linked to the pandemic.

Sarah Noguchi, principal of Modesto City School, the chief school district of the California Suburban School District Association, said, “Therefore, while all programs are working, most are not operating at full capacity,” he said. she declared, including after-school and extracurricular activity providers.

Bob Nelson, Fresno Unified Super Intent, said: You wouldn’t hire for a new program, ”he said.

Supervisors say it is difficult to manage the task of resuming within Covid. Combining it with new regulations, documentation and planning with record high state and federal funding results in initiative fatigue.

These pressures provided real control of Congress. In response, lawmakers agreed to extend the deadline of $ 1.75 billion for this year’s budget to next year in a bill passed earlier this month (see section 18).

“The neighborhood has a lot to do. Members of Congress recognize that building a new system will take time and want to start with and do it safely to reopen the school. “We are,” said Erin Gabel, consultant to the parliamentary budget committee. Presidents Phil Ting and D-San Francisco actively participated in the final education spending negotiations.

Newsome and the legislature are spending $ 1.75 billion over a few years on a permanently funded school day and the first installment of the year for any kindergarten to grade six students who choose to take advantage of it. We expect it to reach $ 5 billion. The two streams, called the Extended Learning Opportunities Program, extend preschool or after-school programs by three hours, creating nine hours a day and an additional 30 days during the summer.

Newsome and lawmakers consider it important to address the additional emotional needs of students, especially low-income foster parents and homeless children, after more than 16 months of isolation and often after trauma. I was hoping to start the program this year. During a pandemic. It is also that the existing publicly funded after-school programs, called after-school and safety education programs, are designed to be delivered through teaching, project-based learning, social and emotional support, and education. physical activity. ..

The goal is to combine the two programs by hiring additional district staff and staff in a community organization that manages existing after-school programs. These employees “often reside in the community and are a valuable asset in building trust with students and families,” a recent article co-authored by President Linda Darling Hammond of the State Board of Education. Said.

A resource-rich school district can proceed this year and certainly plan 30 days of summer programming next summer. They can take charge of whatever they don’t spend to expand next year’s program.

Many districts are struggling to staff their existing after-school programs. They face the same dilemma as the child care industry, with 127,000 workers still down, 10% below pre-pandemic levels, according to the Washington Post.

Bay Area Community Resources, a 40-year-old nonprofit full-service agency that runs 100 after-school programs in Northern California, currently has 70% employees, but is typically 90%. Half of the positions in the Antioch and Pittsburgh programs are unfilled and no one has applied for a job, said Maria Nalopeskin Tanilla, program director for Marin County.

She said wages were a problem. Fast food stores pay more, but extracurricular staff “need to be emotionally prepared every day and willing to work with unvaccinated children,” she says. I did. She said assistant coaches’ salaries start at $ 15 an hour and can go up to $ 23 an hour, depending on the position.

The worrying thing is that the state legislature has increased the claimant reimbursement rate using federal funding, but this is still not enough to attract workers. After years of unsuccessful lobbying by advocates of extracurricular activities, lawmakers increased the daily reimbursement rate from $ 8.88 per child to $ 10.18 per day from $ 1.30. But its wage rate, even the state’s 7.5% unemployment rate, is not the second most competitive in the country. Some after-school workers who were made redundant when the school closed last year may have decided not to return home in search of other employment.

According to Quintanilla, the program cannot increase the number of students in the class, and the number of students per staff member is limited to 20, which increases the waiting list. She said the children would go to an empty house instead of staying after school because their parents had to go back to work.

These districts, where the program can be expanded, can use state funds to plan for the next year. This is because of the complexity of funding the extended learning opportunities program, says Bob Brattner, director of the school consulting firm Brattner and Associates. He praised the state legislature for giving the district more time to decide how to make the program viable.

District funding is based on the enrollment of low income English learners and foster parents and homeless children. Through the local control funding formula, they receive an additional 20 percent of their base funding each year for each of these children.

Under the new Extended Learning Program, districts where these children represent at least 80% of enrollments will receive priority funding at a rate of $ 1,170 per child. The remaining $ 1.75 billion will be sent to other districts as part of a fundraising program. Small rural areas receive a minimum of $ 50,000 to start the program.

The revised law requires all school districts to fund schools with the lowest income students and learners of English. Starting next year, all districts will need to serve at least 50 percent of children who receive additional funding through funding programs. From 2022 to 23, in areas where low-income students are most concentrated, the years and days should be extended to all students in Kindergarten to Grade 6.

The challenge is that $ 1,170 is less than half of the $ 2,500 per child that the state legislature estimates for the date and year of the extension. The district should use other sources of funding to close the gap. The $ 13.5 billion district is from the Federal American Rescue Program, which is available until September 2024. Existing state-funded after-school programs and fees that may be billed to family for students who are not eligible for additional funding.

The district can also use the $ 4.6 billion lump sum fund approved by the state legislature in March. It’s confusing and is called an Extended Learning Opportunity Grant. The district can spend money for many purposes other than extended days.

One approach the school district should consider is to combine part-time work into a work day so that classrooms and special education assistants working during the school day can add time through an after-school program. expanded. It is to be done. Children and Youth, a non-profit organization that supports after-school and summer learning programs.

For the annual budget of each state, the legislator can determine its own expenditure. However, Newsom and the legislature are prioritizing funding for continuing education, which will be phased in over the next three years, with an extension of days and grades, as well as the expansion of community schools and the community. preschool for all four-year-olds. Clarified that it should be. Or 4 years.

“Focusing on meeting the needs of working families with all of their children is the underlying theme of this budget,” Tin said in a statement.
“Not only is this good policy, but when enrollment declines statewide, the state legislature was extended as an asset of public schools competing for students with private charter schools and classless. I think about the year. “

John Fensterwald is a reporter for EdSource, editorial partner of Bay City News.

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