CA School News Report

State Senator Advocates for After-School Program during Monrovia Unified

MONROVIA – Students at Monrovia Unified’s Monroe Elementary made the case for more after-school funding as they guided state Sen. Anthony Portantino around campus on April 14, showing him their outdoor obstacle course, marble tunnel shoots and paper plate paintings.

Portantino, whose district includes Monrovia, visited the school as part of a Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) effort to boost funding for California’s After School Education and Safety (ASES) program.

“Village is like a second family to me,” Monroe third-grader and Village ambassador Lanaya Gholar said. “Without more money, other kids and I may not be able to have an after-school program and I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t come to the Village after school.”

The funding rate for ASES, which subsidizes programs for students in kindergarten through ninth grade, has not changed in the past decade.

“For me, I want to see successful programs firsthand,” Portantino said. “These kids are spectacular and it’s great to see such a successful program. This helps me articulate to the state what a thriving program looks like.”

Selene Lockerbie, mother of two Monroe third-graders, attended the visit to speak with Portantino about the need to add after-school program funding.

“Being a part of the Village program has been life changing for our family,” Lockerbie said. “When we were told our girls had a place in the program, I was able to go back to work. If this program became unavailable to our family, I would have to stop working.”

Monrovia Unified’s Village Extended School Program is supported by an ASES grant and serves more than 600 students, before and after school, at Bradoaks, Monroe, Plymouth and Wild Rose elementary schools, and Clifton and Santa Fe middle schools. Village fosters student academic, physical, social and emotional development.

“These before- and after-school programs are a point of pride for our District,” Monrovia Unified Board President Bryan Wong said. “We were all very happy to have Sen. Portantino here to see our amazing Village Extended School program and what this funding does for our students and their parents.”

Portantino chairs the state Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education, which reviews funding for after-school programs. Already, the static funding has prompted ASES programs to cut enrollment, enrichment activities, academic support, staff hours and staff training. Additional shortfalls and service cuts are anticipated statewide if funds do not increase.

In addition to making the trip to Monroe Elementary, Portantino offered to pay for a flight to Sacramento for a Monrovia Unified student who would lobby for Senate Bill 78 on the Senate floor. The bill, authored by Sen. Connie Leyva, would provide additional funding to support before- and after-school programs.

“Our Village program is vital to the success of our participating students,” Monrovia Unified Superintendent Dr. Katherine Thorossian said. “We appreciate the time Sen. Portantino took to learn more about this exemplary program and the critical need to fund it adequately from those who know it best – our students.”

PHOTO CAPTIONS

041817_MUSD_VILLAGE1: Monroe Elementary students in Monrovia Unified’s Village Extended School program welcome Sen. Anthony Portantino with high fives on April 14. Portantino, whose district includes Monrovia, visited the school as part of a Los Angeles County Office of Education effort to boost funding for California’s After School Education and Safety program.

041817_MUSD_VILLAGE2: Monroe Elementary students in Monrovia Unified’s Village Extended School program show Sen. Anthony Portantino how to operate their marble tunnel shoot. Portantino, whose district includes Monrovia, visited the school on April 14 as part of a Los Angeles County Office of Education effort to boost funding for California’s After School Education and Safety program.

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