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City Year seeking help to halt proposed cuts to AmeriCorps

Mike Szymanski | November 20, 2015

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AmeriCorps* UPDATED

A week ago, the U.S. Senate proposed cutting 20,000 AmeriCorps positions that provide help to schools in unprivileged communities. Now, City Year, which has 309 AmeriCorps members in Los Angeles, is calling on the public to help stop the proposed cuts before decisions are made in the next week.

The measure could result in the loss of AmeriCorps members now assigned to 26 LAUSD schools in Watts, south Los Angeles, Boyle Heights and Koreatown, said local City Year program head Andrew Glazier.

Since its founding nine years ago, City Year Los Angeles has supported 100,000 students through initiatives such as after-school programs and school-wide events and has worked with students as part of national efforts to increase high school graduation, he said.

“These are really devastating cuts for school districts across the country, certainly in Los Angeles,” said AnnMaura Connolly, City Year’s chief strategy officer and president of Voices for National Service. “This is cost-effective work in supporting schools in low income pockets, and we provide individualized attention to at-risk students.”

Michael Brown, co-founder of City Year, said the cuts could result in 52,000 students in 80 high poverty schools losing the academic and social-emotional school support. It would have negative ramifications for Teach for America and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s educational initiatives such as the Promise Zone, which has AmeriCorps members support from the Youth Policy Institute and the city.

“City Year AmeriCorps members serve as full-time tutors, mentors and role models in many of the highest-need elementary, middle and high schools in the nation,” Brown said. “Students would lose more than 1.4 million hours of school-based services.”

Brown added, “A bi-partisan initiative since its founding in 1993, AmeriCorps helps build our workforce and maintain our competitive edge globally.”

Connolly said City Year is urging supporters to contract Congress and the White House to stop the elimination of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees AmeriCorps.

“We have also seen that social media has a big impact on Congress,” Connolly said. “They want to get these matters settled before the Thanksgiving holiday break so the backroom horse-trading is going on right now.”

* Updated to correct the number of AmeriCorps members in Los Angeles.

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