HIDOE Uses Federal Funds to Offset Increase in After-School Program Fees
Federal funds will be used to help offset an increase in after-school plus programming (A+) fees for the remainder of the 2021-22 school year, according to an announcement from the Hawaiʻi State Department of Education.
A+ fees will begin to transition to a new monthly rate effective Nov. 1, 2021; however, families will not be impacted during this stage in the transition.
Monthly fees for A+ programming will be increasing from $120 to $200 to address COVID-19 related budget impacts, rising operational costs and staffing challenges. The new monthly fee will take full effect in the 2022-23 school year.
“This change will help to increase and sustain staffing for our A+ programs, which will in turn help to ensure that after-school support and services can be provided to any student or family who needs it,” Interim Superintendent Keith Hayashi said. “The additional funds can also be used to further after-school enrichment learning opportunities, which will support both academics and social-emotional learning.”
The HIDOE A+ program currently services about 15,600 public school students and is financially sustained only through student fees and subsidies from the Hawaiʻi State Department of Human Services. The Department relies on and works closely with private providers to run the A+ program for families. Of the nearly 200 A+ program sites at HIDOE schools, there are currently 44 operated by the HIDOE and 149 private provider-run sites.
“The Department’s change in program fees will definitely help to increase our capacity to help get students off the waitlist and into A+,” said Dana Vela, CEO of Kamaʻāina Kids, one of the Department’s largest A+ program providers. “It will allow us to offer more competitive pay rates, which would help to attract and retain qualified staff to better serve the keiki.”
“We appreciate that the Department recognizes the cost and importance of providing quality afterschool programs for our keiki to keep them safe and thriving,” said Greg Waibel, CEO of YMCA of Honolulu, another one of the largest A+ program providers. “During this pandemic, the role of childcare has been elevated and its importance is critical to our economic recovery as well as the social emotional learning of our keiki.”
DHS offers subsidies to cover the A+ program fees for income-eligible employed families. There will be no impact to families currently receiving DHS A+ program fee subsidies. Interested families may reach out to the A+ provider at their child’s school for more information.