Text: S.1281 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (06/17/2009)


111th CONGRESS
1st Session
S. 1281


To enhance after-school programs in rural areas of the United States by establishing a pilot program to help communities establish and improve rural after-school programs.


IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

June 17, 2009

Mrs. Lincoln (for herself and Mr. Begich) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions


A BILL

To enhance after-school programs in rural areas of the United States by establishing a pilot program to help communities establish and improve rural after-school programs.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Investment in After-School Programs Act of 2009”.

SEC. 2. Finding.

Congress finds that—

(1) 21 percent of the children in the United States attend public schools in rural areas;

(2) more than 14,000,000 school-age children (25 percent of all school-age children) are left alone after school, including more than 40,000 kindergartners;

(3) only 6,500,000 (11 percent) of children in kindergarten through twelfth grade participate in after-school programs, although an additional 15,000,000 would participate if a quality program were available in the communities of the children;

(4) in rural areas of the United States, 2,500,000 children live in deep and persistent poverty;

(5) among children living in rural areas, 19 percent live in poverty, compared to 15 percent among non-rural children;

(6) rural schools have fewer financial resources that non-rural schools, largely as a result of diminished local property tax bases and inequitable distributions of State funds;

(7) low literacy rates among parents in poor rural communities affect the early language development and educational aspirations of children;

(8) children living in poverty experience less cognitive stimulation and enrichment than children living in middle-income households;

(9) the poorer and more diverse the rural population, the lower the scores of the students of the population are on the National Assessment of Educational Progress;

(10) academic outcomes that are linked to after-school programs include—

(A) better performance in school as measured by achievement test scores and grades;

(B) better attitudes toward school and higher educational aspirations;

(C) higher school attendance; and

(D) less disciplinary action;

(11) investing in after-school programs helps children in rural communities break out of the cycle of poverty and creates opportunities for at-risk youth;

(12) in areas in which resources are limited, after-school programs are often the only source of supplemental enrichment in literacy, nutrition education, technology, and preparation for college entrance exams;

(13) children attending rural schools have the lowest median per-student funding for after-school programs under the 21st century community learning center program under part B of title IV of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7171 et seq.), as compared to children attending urban and suburban schools;

(14) after-school program providers in rural communities face unique barriers that include—

(A) higher transportation costs;

(B) fewer economies of scale, because of the smaller population base, which results in less funding per child; and

(C) fewer trained staff and community-based organizations with whom to partner;

(15) in the 30 years before the date of enactment of this Act—

(A) the percentage of children in the United States who are overweight has more than doubled; and

(B) the number of teenagers who are overweight has nearly tripled;

(16) rural, low-income children represent the highest obesity group among all children in the United States; and

(17) after-school programs provide—

(A) much-needed opportunities to promote and support healthy lifestyles in youth in addition to constructive learning environments; and

(B) effective venues for improving nutrition, nutrition education, and physical activity.

SEC. 3. After-school programs.

Subtitle D of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act is amended by inserting after section 365 (7 U.S.C. 2008) the following:

“SEC. 366. After-school Programs.

“(a) Purpose.—The purpose of this section is to enhance after-school programs in rural areas by helping communities—

“(1) to establish after-school programs; and

“(2) to improve existing programs by overcoming barriers to service.

“(b) Definitions.—In this section:

“(1) AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAM.—The term ‘after-school program’ means a program that carries out a broad array of activities during periods when school is not in session (such as before school, after school, or during summer recess and other vacation periods) that advance student academic achievement and promote positive youth development.

“(2) ELIGIBLE ENTITY.—The term ‘eligible entity’ means a local educational agency (as such term is defined in section 9101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7801)), educational service agency, community-based organization, another public or private entity, or a consortium of 2 or more such agencies, organizations, or entities.

“(3) RURAL AREA.—The term ‘rural area’ means an area that is served by an elementary or secondary school that is designated with a school locale code of Distant Town, Remote Town, Fringe Rural, Distant Rural, or Remote Rural, as determined by the Secretary of Education.

“(c) Grants.—

“(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall make grants to eligible entities to improve, expand, or establish after-school programs in rural areas.

“(2) REQUIREMENT.—Each grant under this section shall be in an amount of not less than $25,000.

“(d) Duration.—

“(1) TERM OF GRANT.—The term of a grant under this section may not be for less than 3 years.

“(2) RENEWAL.—The Secretary may renew a grant under this section for a period of not less than 3 years, based on the performance of the eligible entity during the previous grant term.

“(e) Uses.—As a condition of the receipt of a grant under this section, an eligible entity shall use the grant to fund projects and activities described in subsection (c), including transportation, professional development, training, recruitment and retention of staff, increasing access to technology, and planning.

“(f) Evaluation.—The Secretary may use not more than 1 percent of the funds under this section—

“(1) to conduct evaluations of the effectiveness of programs and activities assisted under subsection (c); and

“(2) to disseminate the results of those evaluations for the purpose of refining, improving, and strengthening programs.

“(g) Outreach, training, and technical assistance.—The Secretary may use not more than 3 percent of the funds made available to carry out this section—

“(1) to conduct outreach, including bidders’ conferences, to ensure widespread knowledge of the availability of resources described in subsection (c);

“(2) to disseminate information on best practices and successful program models for serving children and youth in rural areas; and

“(3) to provide capacity building, training, and technical assistance to after-school programs and providers in rural areas.

“(h) Application.—

“(1) IN GENERAL.—To be considered for a grant under this section, each eligible entity shall submit to the Secretary an application at such time, in such manner, and accompanied by such information as the Secretary may require.

“(2) CONTENTS.—An application submitted pursuant to paragraph (1) shall include—

“(A) a description of the after-school program to be funded, including—

“(i) an assurance that the program will take place in a safe and easily accessible facility;

“(ii) a description of how children and youth participating in the program will travel safely between the program site and home;

“(iii) a description of how the eligible entity will disseminate information about the program, including the location of the program, to the community in a manner that is understandable and accessible;

“(iv)(I) a description of the services to be provided to children and youth, which may include a broad array of activities, such as—

“(aa) academic enrichment and youth development activities;

“(bb) drug and violence prevention programs;

“(cc) counseling programs;

“(dd) art, music, physical fitness, and recreational programs;

“(ee) technology education programs;

“(ff) character education programs; and

“(gg) service-learning programs;

“(II) the roles and responsibilities of the partners in providing the services; and

“(III) how the services enhance an existing after-school program; and

“(v) an assurance that the program will provide a nutritious snack or meal that meets nutrition standards established by the Secretary;

“(B) an assurance that the proposed program was developed, and will be carried out, in active collaboration with the schools the students attend;

“(C) an assurance that funds provided under this section will be used to increase the level of State, local, and other non-Federal funds that would, in the absence of funds under this section, be made available for programs and activities authorized under this section, and in no case supplant Federal, State, local, or non-Federal funds;

“(D) a description of the partnership between a local educational agency, a community-based organization, or another public entity or private entity, if applicable; and

“(E) such additional assurances as the Secretary determines to be necessary to ensure compliance with this section.

“(i) Priority.—The Secretary shall give priority to applications that—

“(1) propose partnerships between 2 or more eligible entities; or

“(2) propose that a majority of the students participating in the after-school program are eligible for free or reduced price school meals under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq.) and section 4 of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1773).

“(j) Authorization of Appropriations.—There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section—

“(1) $25,000,000 for fiscal year 2010;

“(2) $50,000,000 for fiscal year 2011; and

“(3) such sums as are necessary for each of fiscal years 2012 through 2014.”.