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Study Tallies Costs of Out-of-School Programs

“The Cost of Quality Out-of-School-Time Programs”

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Educators and policymakers trying to figure out the costs involved in starting up a top-notch after-school, summer, or Saturday program for children and youths can find answers to their questions in a report and online “cost calculator” unveiled last week by the Wallace Foundation.

The expense estimates stem from a study of 111 out-of-school programs in six cities—Boston, Charlotte, N.C., Chicago, Denver, New York, and Seattle–that researchers judged to be of high quality. To meet the study’s quality criteria, programs had to have high participation rates, be in operation at least two years, maintain appropriate staffing ratios, and model other characteristics that studies have shown to be linked to positive outcomes for children and youths.

The study found that the average daily cost of such programs in elementary and middle school, on a per-program-slot basis, is $24 during the school year and $32 in summer. School-based, school-run programs are the least expensive to operate, the report notes, but costs vary from district to district and region to region. The estimates in the report are on the high end, the authors caution, because the analyses do not take into account donated resources or in-kind contributions.

With the Web-based “cost calculator,” users can get expense estimates tailored to their own communities and circumstances. The study was conducted for the New York City-based foundation, which underwrites coverage of leadership issues in Education Week, by Public/Private Ventures, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit group, and The Finance Project, based in Washington.

Vol. 28, Issue 20, Page 4

Published in Print: February 4, 2009, as Study Tallies Costs of Out-of-School Programs
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