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Getting Funding Back for Maryland’s Out of School Time Programs - Expanding Opportunities, Improving Lives: A Reception on the Importance of Afterschool and Summer Learning

The Maryland Out of School Time (MOST) Network hosted a reception and presentation on Thursday, October 9th from 4:30 to 6:30pm at the Maryland State Education Association to celebrate the release of two important documents: The Maryland Afterschool and Summer Opportunity Fund (MASOF) Comprehensive Plan & Recommendations, and Expanding Opportunities, Improving Lives – Afterschool’s Return on Investment for Maryland. Invited to the reception were members of the MASOF Advisory Board, afterschool and summer learning advocates, and policy makers.  

 

A presentation took place that included remarks from: Betty Weller, President, Maryland State Education Association; Delegate Anne Kaiser (District 14 - Montgomery County); Anne Sheridan, Executive Director, Governor’s Office for Children, Gabriel Albornoz, Director of Recreation, Montgomery County; and, Ellie Mitchell, Director, Maryland Out of School Time Network.

 

Delegate Kaiser gave some valuable insight on the Legislature’s perspective on advocating for funding and was very supportive on pursuing funds for MASOF.

 

Anne Sheridan spoke on how “a child’s education does not end when the doors close” at the end of the school day. She reaffirmed how important it is to get funding put back in the Maryland Afterschool and Summer Opportunity Fund (MASOF). “This is something that we can’t afford not to do.”

 

Gabriel Albornoz gave his remarks on how imperative it is for this funding as well. “There’s nothing more important than investing in our children, youth, and families.”

 

The Maryland Afterschool and Summer Opportunity Fund (MASOF) Comprehensive Plan & Recommendations is authored by the MASOF Advisory Board, which was appointed by Governor Martin O’Malley in 2013. MASOF - established in 1999 under then Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and then state legislator Chris Van Hollen - was initially funded up to $10 million; however, over time MASOF was eliminated from the budget by a series of cuts and remains unfunded at the present time.  The MASOF Advisory Board has met to provide an updated landscape as well as recommendations for priority areas for future investment in afterschool and summer programs.   

 

Expanding Opportunities, Improving Lives – Afterschool’s Return on Investment for Maryland updates past research and uses Maryland specific data to determine the potential fiscal impact an increased investment in afterschool program might have in Maryland.  The ROI calculation found every $1 invested in afterschool program leads to a return on investment of $3.36.  Just 17% of Maryland’s students (K-12) are currently participating in an afterschool school program, but more than 296,374 would participate if a program were available in their community.

 

Overall, this reception made the future seem very bright for attaining funding for MASOF. We are one step closer to obtaining the necessary resources to provide access to high qualityout of school time programs for Maryland’s youth.

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