Durbin: Trump’s Proposed Budget Would Eliminate After-School Programs for Thousands of Chicago Kids

The following was distributed 3/31/17 by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin’s office. Tonti Elementary is one of Metropolitan Family Services’ Community Schools.

CHICAGO – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today visited a Chicago elementary school that would lose funding under President Trump’s proposed budget cuts to after-school programs. Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) after-school programs depend on federal funding from the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program, which is the only federal funding source dedicated to after-school enrichment at low-income schools. President Trump’s budget proposes to eliminate the 21st CCLC program, impacting 1.6 million kids nationally and over 52,000 students in Illinois.

“President Trump tweets about Chicago a lot but has yet to show an ounce of real concern for our city—his budget proves that. If we want to get serious about keeping our communities safe, we have to protect critical federal investments in our children like after-school programs,” Durbin said. “Chicago Public Schools receive federal funding to serve thousands of students who need support beyond regular school hours. These federal resources are helping students find their chance for success, and I will be fighting in Washington to maintain these important investments.”

The 21st CCLC program was authorized under No Child Left Behind in 2001 and reauthorized under the Every Students Succeeds Act in 2015. The program is critical for working families, especially in underserved communities, keeping young people safe during after-school hours when juvenile crime peaks while improving academic achievement.

Each state receives funding based on its share of Title I funding for low-income students. In 2016, Illinois received over $52 million to serve 52,513 students. CPS receives 40 percent ($21 million) of 21st CCLC funding to support after-school programs that serve more than 30,000 students at 174 schools and other agencies.

Senator Durbin visited Tonti Elementary School, a full-service community school in the Chicago Lawn community. Tonti—CPS’s 2016 Innovative School of the Year—offers parent training computer classes, literacy, nutrition, wellness, parenting, and GED classes as well as various other after-school programs, which are 80-90 percent funded by 21st CCLC. The school serves more than 1,000 students, of which 96 percent are low-income and 37 percent are English learners.