New Study Recommends State Establish Dedicated Funding Stream for Out-of-School-Time Providers
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A new study released today by the Joint State Government Commission identifies significant benefits to students who participate in out-of-school-time (OST) programs and a substantial return on investment (ROI) made in these programs. Return on Investment of Afterschool Programs in Pennsylvania concludes that, for every dollar invested in an afterschool program in the commonwealth, $6.69 is returned in potential benefits associated with reducing high school dropouts, teen pregnancy, substance abuse disorder, crime and delinquency.
The study concludes that OST programs rely on a complicated mix of funding to keep their doors open. The “variability, uncertainty, timing and competitiveness of funding combine to hinder providers’ ability to plan and deliver services,” it says, noting that OST staff are forced to devote valuable time to data collection and reporting that could be spent working with students. The study recommends that the state create a “dedicated and reliable funding stream” for OST providers.
“Out of school time programming benefits youth and families in ways that go far beyond a simple ROI, but having this number will help advocates of the OST community fight for greater supports at the local, state and federal level,” said Representative Jake Wheatley, 19th Legislative District, sponsor of House Resolution 180 of 2019, who called for the study.
“This ROI report makes clear that an investment in OST programming is a means for moving the people of Pennsylvania forward and preparing youth and families for a future that is ever-changing,” said Steven Williams, Associate Director of the Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network (PSAYDN). “We have long known that afterschool and summer learning programs boost students, families, schools and communities. But these programs are under stress, facing constant funding challenges that have been exacerbated by the pandemic. When we invest in Pennsylvania OST programs, we’re investing in youth, communities and our future.”
According to the Afterschool Alliance’s America After 3 PM study, approximately 322,000 students in the commonwealth participate in OST programs and an additional 812,000 would participate, according to their parents, if a program were available to them. Ninety-three percent of Pennsylvania parents are satisfied with their child’s afterschool program.
“This ROI study proves that an investment in out-of-school-time programming is one of the most responsible and fiscally sound investments our communities, our school districts, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania can make,” said Rachel Strucko, Director of the SHINE Afterschool Program. “SHINE Carbon/Schuylkill is very proud to have been part of such a comprehensive and informative study that will help guide future funding for the children and families of Pennsylvania.“
Established by Pennsylvania’s General Assembly in response to House Resolution 180 of 2019, the Joint State Government Commission was guided in its work by a diverse, broad-based advisory committee that included educators, parents, student representatives, advocates, providers, a district attorney, and a police chief. It recommends:
The Commission and PSAYDN have shared the new report with the sponsors of HR 180, and the majority and minority chairs of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives’ Education and Children and Youth committees. House and Senate members will also receive its summary.