Letter to OSSE: OST Coalition Asks OSSE to Request Fiscal Waiver for 21CCLC Grantees

economic justice

Dear Dr. Tanisha Brown and Myles Cliff,

We are writing to you on behalf of the DC Out-of-School Time Coalition to inform you of a challenge that recipients of 21st Century Community Learning Center (21CCLC) grants are facing and to recommend a solution to the issue. 

Several grantees of the 2020-21 21CCLC awards are concerned about the requirement to spend the sum of their grant funds by the September 30 deadline and only carry over 15% to the next fiscal year, due to impacts on programming from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The programs we have spoken to are concerned that unless the 15% carryover limit is lifted, programs may lose funds that could be put to good use to serve students. 

The programs we have spoken to are concerned that unless the 15% carryover limit is lifted, programs may lose funds that could be put to good use to serve students. Many programs were virtual only during this grant period, resulting in fewer expenses for programs. However, as students return to school in the fall, these programs expect their programming expenses to increase significantly. In fact, they are already seeing significant increased outreach from parents and school administrators and are expecting their numbers and needs to increase significantly. We know that a year of disrupted learning will have significant effects on our students’ academic and social wellbeing. Providers are poised to address these challenges with expanded programs and increased tools to support students. The flexibility to use funds into this upcoming school year will truly support students when they need it most. Because of this, it would be in the best interests of students and OST programs to extend a waiver to grant recipients allowing them to carry over all of this year’s unspent funds through September 30, 2022.

The most recent information from the U.S. Department of Education indicates that it does not plan to offer an opportunity for grantees to carry over more than 15% of this year’s funding for another year, despite the challenges of the past year. We are requesting that OSSE submit a request for such a waiver to the Department of Education. 

The grant recipients who are members of our coalition are grateful to have had the opportunity to serve youth virtually amid the difficulties of the past year, and for the flexibility granted by the federal government to carry over more of the previous year’s funds. By offering a similar waiver this year and granting programs more time to utilize funds, programs will be able to maximize their impact and spend funds in a way that is responsive to the needs of DC’s youth in this time of transition to in-person school and OST activities. 

Thank you for your consideration of this request. Please feel free to contact the DC OST Coalition with any questions.

Sincerely,

DC Out-of-School Time Coalition
 

August 3, 2021