JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) — The Mississippi Department of Education said federal funds are available for 21st Century Community Learning Centers and will be distributed to eligible school districts for this school year.
MDE said there is about $5.6 million in federal funds that will be given out in grants.
The grants will be awarded to eligible programs in their fourth or fifth year of operation that meet sustainability requirements for matching funds.
21st Century Community Learning Centers were created to provide academic opportunities during non-school hours for students, such as before and after school programs.
According to the State Department of Education, The U.S. Department of Education granted Mississippi $14.6 million in 21st Century funds for 2016-17. The said because of the over-commitment of funds for 21st Century programs from last school year, about $9 million of this award will be used to reimburse districts and community organizations for costs incurred at the end of 2015-16.
“After receiving guidance from the U.S. Department of Education, we decided to scale back programming in 2016-17 while we re-evaluated how 21st Century grants are awarded and monitored,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “We regret the impact that reducing services will have on children and families. We plan to open the competition for new and continuing grants in 2017-18 with a far more rigorous screening and evaluation process. The MDE takes seriously our role in ensuring that children and families receive high-quality educational services.”
Districts and organizations with 21st Century programs that are in the fourth or fifth year of their funding cycle will receive full funding if they meet all eligibility requirements.
In August, the MDE said it was facing a deficit up to $19 million in the 21st Century grant program because more grants were awarded than available funds.
Education officials said the deficit had been reduced to $7.6 million after reconciling 21st Century funds between 2015-16 and 2016-17 and because reimburse