Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Champions for After-School

It is important that after-school has champions, people in positions of influence that will insist that they are heard. In January, one of the most influential champions for after-school programs, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, will step down. The election in November will decide if another champion, Barbara Boxer, will be returned to the Senate. Certainly the Afterschool Alliance and the state Networks will continue to champion to work of after-school, but as the landscape changes, is it time for the field, the people who live and breathe after-school on a day-to-day basis, to cultivate local leaders to be the “grassroots” champions who cast ripples of influence that end with State and National leaders?

In California, ASES Funding created by Proposition 49 is a target of those who are trying to balance the budget. On August 20, information from League of California Afterschool Providers Director (LCAP), Steve Amick indicated that once again the funding for after-school is being challenged. Here is the content of that message:

Dear Colleagues,

On August 4, the Budget Conference Committee voted unanimously to give voters the opportunity to repeal Proposition 49. Before this measure can be placed on the ballot, however, it must be approved by both houses of the Legislature and signed by the Governor.

The language will be contained in a "stand alone" trailer bill, which means that it will be voted up or down on its own merits, separate from other elements of the FY 2010/11 Budget Bill. This bill has not yet been assigned a number, but once a budget agreement has been reached, the legislative process will move very quickly.

Now is the time to contact your State Senator and Assembly member and urge them to oppose placing Proposition 49 back on the ballot. Click here to identify your local elected officials. Print and sign this template on your agency letterhead, and fax it to all legislators representing your service area.

In addition to faxing the letter(s), please consider following up with a phone call to emphasize these important facts:
• Placing Proposition 49 on the ballot will not result in any savings for the FY10/11 fiscal year.
• California's pending Race to the Top application places great emphasis on after-school programs as evidence of its commitment to federal priorities like extended learning time. Abandoning that commitment could jeopardize the state's chances to garner up to $700 million in federal funding.
• An initiative to repeal Proposition 49 would likely fail, as did recent attempts to repeal Propositions 10 and 63.
An initiative that makes no impact on the budget, hurts our chances to secure badly needed federal subsidies, and has little chance of being approved by voters is a poor use of the state's thinly stretched resources. For more detailed talking points, click here.

When calling your elected officials, please ask to speak with the legislative aide in charge of K-12 education issues. Let them know that their vote on this trailer bill reflects their position on the value of after-school programs. Only a "nay" vote will demonstrate support for after-school providers and the families they serve.

This is an opportunity for you to be heard—to support the work that you do day in and day out. This is not the responsibility of someone else, it is the responsibility of each of use that believe in the purpose of afterschool.

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