S.F. to get flood of after-school funds

Subtle competition exists between The City, SFUSD for millions in Prop. 49 money

With millions of dollars in new state funding for after-school programs expected to flood into San Francisco within months, officials from The City as well as the school district are working together on one application, but with an undercurrent of competition.

The money would come from Proposition 49, a 2002 initiative by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger — before he was voted into office — that has been on hold in the years since, waiting for the state’s economy to improve. An increase in state revenue this year triggered Prop. 49’s implementation and funds are expected to flow as early as December.

The complication, according to Jennifer Peck, executive director of the Bay Area Partnership for Children and Youth, is that all funding somehow has to be attached to a public school site. Although more students in San Francisco are getting after-school services by nonprofit community based organizations funded through The City, none of those programs would be eligible for the funds if the district does not include them on the application.

San Francisco is expected to get at least $3 million in new after-school funding through Prop. 49, according to Peck, enough to create up to 2,000 new student slots for the popular programs.

In order to ensure that city-funded programs would get support from the Prop. 49 funds, the Department of Children, Youth and Families pushed the school district to sign a formal agreement that outlines a collective planning process for the funds in writing.

Some community-based organizations are nervous nonetheless. At a breakfast meeting Thursday morning that largely lauded the partnership, Michael Cosby, vice president of programming for San Francisco’s Boys and Girls Club, stood up and expressed his concern thatschool-based after-school programs will supplant existing community programs, such as the Boys and Girls Club.

“If kids are in school after school we will not exist,” Cosby said. “I’m grateful that Margaret [Brodkin, head of the DCYF] has been proactively brokering this relationship, but that’s the brutal reality.”

More than 8,000 students at 75 schools attend an after-school program sponsored by the school district. Another 13,000 attend programs sponsored by community-based organizations supported by the DCYF, and several thousand others are served through Recreation and Park programs, according to DCYF Director of Policy and Planning, September Jarrett.

School board member Eric Mar, who attended the after-school breakfast and has been a strong champion of community based organizations, said he had heard from other district officials that they felt The City was trying to “grab” too much of the after-school funding.

“I hope the MOU [Memorandum of Understanding] will create a genuine partnership,” Mar said.

Although state lawmakers, as well as the legislative analyst, have said California can’t afford the “autopilot” spending plan which will cost the state $500 million annually, city and school leaders have clamored for more after-school dollars, seeing the programs as a means to restore arts and other extracurricular programs into a student’s day, an avenue to direct kids out of trouble, and a way to support parents with child care that extends beyond the school day.

beslinger@examiner.comBay Area NewseducationLocal

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