HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

1789

TWENTY-EIGHTH LEGISLATURE, 2016

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

relating to after-school programs.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that, in Hawaii, over fifty-four thousand children are left alone and unsupervised until their parents return home from work each day. Yet, according to the Afterschool Alliance, seventy-five per cent of Hawaii parents agree that after-school programs can reduce the likelihood that youth will engage in risky behavior and ninety-three per cent support public funding of after-school programs. The legislature further finds that while Hawaii continues to be among the states with high participation rates, that rate has been declining from thirty-five per cent in 2004, to twenty-eight per cent in 2009, and twenty-six per cent in 2014. Juvenile violence peaks in the after-school hours on school days and in the evenings on non-school days. Sixty-five per cent of violent crimes committed by juveniles occur on school days, while nearly one-fifth of all juvenile violent crimes occur between the hours of three and seven o'clock in the evening. During fiscal year 2012-2013, the police made over three thousand arrests of juveniles in Hawaii between the ages of twelve and fourteen.

The legislature additionally finds that after-school programming represents an upfront investment in Hawaii's youth and that higher participation rates in other states may be due to significant state funding dedicated specifically to expanding the availability of after-school programs. According to the superintendent's twenty-fifth annual report published in October 2015, Hawaii's dropout rate has reached nearly fifteen per cent with a graduation rate of only around eighty-two per cent. Nearly half of the high school dropouts reported that they started high school ill-prepared. Research indicates that each disconnected youth costs the taxpayers nearly $14,000 per year, which can continue and even increase in the future as some disenfranchised youth become part of the juvenile justice court systems. The stakes of disengagement are high. Once students are disconnected, recruitment, enrollment, and retention into programs require stronger and more persistent outreach, more intensive services, and more long-term participation.

The legislature also finds that middle school years are a pivotal time for the State's haumana, or students a time when they can succumb to peer pressure and significantly derail their education and futures. Accordingly, participation in high-quality after-school programs can lead to improved attendance, better behavior, and better academic performance. Keeping the State's youth engaged in positive after-school activities will help to keep them on the path toward graduation and productive futures. Currently, there are approximately twenty-six thousand public middle and intermediate school students in Hawaii. Some schools receive federal or state funding for after-school programming; however, this funding is inconsistent or unreliable.

The legislature further finds that, in March 2013, the administration, through the lieutenant governor, established the R.E.A.C.H. initiative, which stands for "resources for enrichment, athletics, culture, and health," to develop a framework and funding base for after-school programs for public middle and intermediate school students throughout the State. The legislature additionally finds that the establishment of a state-subsidized after-school program for public middle and intermediate school students is important to the future of Hawaii's opio and the welfare of the State as a whole.

The legislature also finds that since its inception, the R.E.A.C.H. initiative has provided over $1,400,000 in funding for after-school programs including nine schools during the 2013-2014 school year, eleven schools during the 2014-2015 school year, and nineteen schools during the 2015-2016 school year throughout all counties in the State. The legislature further finds that this funding has been instrumental during the vulnerable middle school years and has manifested positive impacts on the lives of these students inside and outside of the classroom. The legislature finds, however, that a dedicated program with reliable funding is necessary to provide continued and uninterrupted services in middle and intermediate schools statewide.

The legislature additionally finds that the office of youth services, within the department of human services, provides comprehensive front-end services and programs for youth to prevent delinquency and reduce the incidence of recidivism. The office of youth services is dedicated to creating opportunities for youth to develop competencies that foster resiliency and enable them to achieve a successful transition to young adulthood. The legislature determines that the objectives of the R.E.A.C.H. initiative are wholly aligned with those of the office of youth services and, accordingly, provided funding during fiscal years 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 to the office of youth services for the R.E.A.C.H. initiative.

The purpose of this Act is to provide a standardized framework and funding for after-school programs in public middle and intermediate schools. Specifically, this Act:

(1) Establishes the R.E.A.C.H. program within the office of youth services; and

(2) Authorizes individual schools participating in the R.E.A.C.H. program to receive fees and other moneys to supplement the costs of administering and operating the program.

SECTION 2. Chapter 352D, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding three new sections to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"352D-A Resources for enrichment, athletics, culture, and health (R.E.A.C.H.) program; established. There is established the resources for enrichment, athletics, culture, and health (R.E.A.C.H.) program within the office of youth services.

352D-B Resources for enrichment, athletics, culture, and health (R.E.A.C.H.) program; implementation. (a) The office of youth services shall provide funding to establish, support, or enhance after-school programs in public middle schools. The office of youth services may enter into contracts with middle schools, individuals, organizations, or other entities to provide after-school programs to public middle schools.

(b) The office of youth services shall:

(1) Establish criteria, application, selection, and award processes for funding after-school programs;

(2) Monitor the after-school programs within each school;

(3) Conduct site evaluations for schools with after-school programs funded under the R.E.A.C.H. program;

(4) Ensure each after-school program meets contractual expectations; and

(5) Report annually to the legislature on the implementation of programs and use of funds under the R.E.A.C.H. program, including but not limited to information on grants awarded to provide services to public middle schools, current and future plans to assess or collect fees, and efforts to obtain non-state funding for the financial sustainability of the R.E.A.C.H. program.

352D-C Resources for enrichment, athletics, culture, and health (R.E.A.C.H.) program; requirements, fees. In accordance with chapter 91, the office of youth services may establish program requirements and participation fees or other charges to be assessed to each participant for the cost of administering and operating the R.E.A.C.H. program."

SECTION 3. Section 352D-3, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding two new definitions to be appropriately inserted and to read as follows:

""Public middle schools" means all academic and noncollege type middle and intermediate schools established and maintained by the department of education, including charter schools governed by chapter 302D.

"R.E.A.C.H. program" means the resources for enrichment, athletics, culture, and health program established pursuant to section 352D‑A."

SECTION 4. In codifying the new sections added by section 2 of this Act, the revisor of statutes shall substitute appropriate section numbers for the letters used in designating the new sections in this Act.

SECTION 5. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 6. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

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Report Title:

After-school Programs; Resources for Enrichment, Athletics, Culture, and Health Program; Office of Youth Services

 

Description:

Establishes the R.E.A.C.H (resources for enrichment, athletics, culture, and health) program in the office of youth services to provide a standardized framework and funding for after-school programs in public middle and intermediate schools. Authorizes participating schools to collect fees.

 

 

 

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