School Board Survey

May 22, 2003

A new survey released today by the National School Boards Association (NSBA) finds that school board presidents nationwide overwhelmingly support after-school programs in their districts. However, they are concerned over potential budget cuts that could force them to reduce or cut entirely their current programs.

As a result of working on a two-year project focusing on school boards’ involvement in after-school programs, NSBA released the research findings and launched an online resource center to help school boards further support members’ roles in building and sustaining after-school programs in their communities. Along with the full report of this survey, board members can find essential information on what role board members can provide in after-school programs as well as possible funding sources specific to their state. It can be viewed at www.nsba.org/edlo.

After-school programs have gained enthusiastic support in America’s communities—from the creation of the federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers to the passage of Proposition 49 in California. NSBA aims to educate and assist board members in building and sustaining high-quality programs in their districts. NSBA commissioned the survey, “Realizing the Vision, Leading the Way” with the D.C. firm of Belden, Russonello and Stewart Research and Communications. The survey was funded through a grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

“It is very important for the public to remember that school boards are committed to provide quality after-school programs for all students and that they feel it is a valuable asset to the school day,” says Anne L. Bryant, Executive Director of the National School Boards Association. “The survey shows that school board members believe that the goal of high-quality after-school programs is to enhance academic performance and provide a safe, supervised place for students to be after school.”

Of the 821 school board presidents surveyed, four out of five—or 81 percent—currently have an after-school program in their district. Some of the major findings of the survey are:

Eighty-three percent say it is essential or very important that after-school programs are to continue in their district.
Board members believe the main goal of after-school programs should be raising student performance, with 80 percent saying that it is essential or very important.
Board members with after-school programs give them high marks in providing services that directly impact classroom achievement: 82 percent say their programs do a good or excellent job of assisting students who are struggling academically.
Seventy-five percent agree they should have a large role in establishing vision and policy for the district as it relates to after-school programs with only 6 percent saying the school board should have a large role in the daily operations of the programs.
Fifty-two percent foresee that their after-school programs will have to be reduced somewhat or even cut entirely in the next few years due to proposed funding cuts.
"Generally speaking, researchers conclude that youth in after-school programs have better attendance during the regular school day, improve their grades and test scores in core academic subjects, and have fewer behavior problems," says Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Judy Y. Samelson. The Afterschool Alliance is a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of after-school programs and advocating for quality, affordable programs for all children. Samelson adds, "Given that afterschool clearly helps kids learn and yet the current fiscal and economical conditions are so dismal for education funding, it is not surprising that funding is clearly a major concern for school board members."

"This survey tells the education community that school boards are in the unique position to provide leadership for after-school programs through policy and vision. We hope to see more school board members adopting new policies as well as collaborating for extended day learning opportunities for the children in their communities," says An-Me Chung, Program Officer at the Mott Foundation.

The National School Boards Association is a national federation of state school boards associations that represent more than 95,000 school board members who govern the nation's public schools. The organization's mission is to foster excellence and equity in public elementary and secondary education throughout the United States through local school board leadership.

The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, established in 1926 in Flint, Michigan, by an automotive pioneer, is a private philanthropy committed to supporting projects that promote a just, equitable and sustainable society. It supports nonprofit programs throughout the United States and, on a limited geographic basis, internationally. Grantmaking is focused in four programs: Civil Society, Environment, Flint Area and Pathways Out of Poverty. The Foundation, with year-end total assets of $2.01 billion, made 606 grants totaling $109.8 million in 2002. For more information about the Foundation, visit its Web site at http://www.mott.org/.


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