CAPE Emergency Advocacy Needs: ISBE’s $12 Million 21stCCLC Error

 In The CAPE Blog

CAPE Needs Your Help

Summary: On Monday, April 10, CAPE received notice that funding from the Illinois State Board of Education via the 21st Century Community Learning Centers funding for the state cohort FY19 would end by June 30, 2023. This affects two CAPE after-school sites – New Sullivan Elementary and Dyett High School – which will not continue into the 2023-24 school year – a reduction of $300,000 in funding, and 300 students who receive after school programming. Statewide the $12 million loss will affect 27,000 students.

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Latest News

May 17, 2023, “..Blunder that could cancel summer programs for thousands of kids…” Alyssa Patric, WANDTV

Latest Action Update

Illinois State Board of Education UpdateOn May 17, 2023, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) met for its monthly Board meeting. To access the recordings and meeting materials, click here. ACT Now and Abby Boen from Project Success of Vermilion County provided public comment to implore the agency to work with the General Assembly to find $12 million in stop gap funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) FY19 cohort grantees. To learn more about the 21st CCLC situation, click here. You can also take action, by clicking here. Board members did not issue a response on 21st CCLC during public comment nor was it addressed in later presentations or discussion. The next ISBE Board meeting will take place on June 21, 2023. Illinois Lawmakers Still Unable to Pass State Budget Illinois lawmakers were unable to pass the state’s budget onMay 19, 2023. ACT Now is encouraging advocates to contact their legislators regarding the 21st CCLC funding issue when they return to session on Wednesday. Telephone and email language can be found here. To learn more about the 21st CCLC issue click here.

Send the ACT Now Action Alert!

May 23, 2023: CAPE students K-3 draw pictures for legislators to try to reinstate lost funding for their CAPE programs. CAPE Students and supporters of all ages are writing letters to legislators. Send any letters to CAPE and we’ll mail them to relevant addresses for you! 1010 W 35th Street, Suite 697, Chicago, IL 60609.



May 2, 2023 Press Conference, Chicago, IL: Amy Rasmussen, CAPE Executive Director, and teaching artist Jordan Knecht were on hand to support New Sullivan parent liaison Charles Bessett who spoke at a press conference May 2.

Click image to view Press Conference speakers 5/2/23

Click to view full press conference information











April 21, 2023:  After School Programs are at risk: Speakers from Event 4/21/23

Recent Media about the missing 21st Century funds:

5/3/23 Chalkbeat, Chicago, story by Samantha Smylie – “Advocates call on Illinois lawmakers to fund after-school programs after state error,”

5/1/23 Edwardsville Intelligencer, story by – “After-school programs at risk of closure after state board says it miscalculated federal funding: Programs serve thousands of students in low-performing and high-poverty schools,”

4/26/23 WAND TV – Central Illinois – “12K Students Could Lose Afterschool Programs due to ISBE Budget Error,”

4/25/23 Fox Illinois – “Vermilion County after-school programs cut after ISBE funding error,” 

4/22/23 Commercial News – “Funding Error Costs Project Success Six Sites,”

4/22/23 News-Gazette – “Funding Cut Stands to Impact Kids…,”

4/20/23 Chicago Sun-Times – “Illinois After School Programs State Money Federal Grant Editorial,”

4/19/23 WBEZ –

Read A Letter from Amy Rasmussen,  Executive Director of Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education
Monday, April 17, 2023
Dear CAPE Friends,
Today, CAPE needs your advocacy support to help us restore funding for after-school programs!  
On Monday, April 10, CAPE received notice that funding from the Illinois State Board of Education for two of our after-school sites – New Sullivan Elementary and Dyett High School – would not be continued into the 2023-24 school year – a reduction of $300,000 in funding.  In addition, we have also learned that an additional $1,080,000 in funding for eight other sites could be in jeopardy for 2023-24, those sites include Waters Elementary, Telpochcalli Elementary, North-Grand High School, George Washington High School in Chicago, and Currier Elementary, Gary Elementary, Leman Middle and Pioneer Elementary Schools in West Chicago.  This funding provides consistent after-school programs for over 1,000 students, provided by 70 teaching artists throughout the school year and summer.  

ISBE issued this notice not because of a CAPE error or problem but because ISBE miscalculated grant spending for an entire group of after-school grantees, totaling $12,000,000 in after-school programs statewide.   

This program is funded by formula grants to ISBE from the US Department of Education.  The 21st Century Community Learning Centers program (21CCLC) enjoys bipartisan support and has been funded, with steadily growing support, each and every year since it was started in 1998.  The 21CCLC grant amount to ISBE is forecasted to be $51,374,438, level-funded from FY23 and FY22.  With stable funding in place for so many years, how can it be that ISBE’s projections were so wildly inaccurate?

With these after-school programs, CAPE provides a continuum of care for at-risk students who would not have access to after-school programs by engaging them in high-quality arts-integrated learning projects.  Students build their academic and artistic skills through CAPE programs by learning digital audio production, improvisatory theater, playwriting, podcasting, community mural making, and other projects.  The students and families in these programs are 53% Hispanic, 40% African-American, and 85% low-income.  It is unconscionable that the Illinois State Board of Education is punishing these vulnerable and at-risk students for its own mistakes.  

CAPE is not alone in this fight.  We are collaborating with the Afterschool for Children and Teens Now Coalition  (ACT Now).  To remedy this situation, legislative action is needed.  The ACT Now Coalition, working with partners statewide, has been in communication with Governor Pritzker’s office, as well as with state legislators.  However, we need your voice of support to make this change a reality.  

Thank you for your support, and let’s all get together on Friday at the gallery (event was 4/21/23) to celebrate the amazing work created by the very programs that are at risk now. More information about Friday’s reception is here. I hope to see you there.

Kindest regards,

Amy Rasmussen
Executive Director
Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education
direct: 312-674-6906


What CAPE does: Take a minute to watch CAPE After School kindergarten through second grade students learn “You’ll Feel Better if you Sing” with teaching artist Aaron Kelly and teacher Urooj Shafi.

CAPE’s 21st CCLC programs

  • Build students artistic skills
  • Support academic achievement
  • Encourage Social Emotional Learning (SEL)
  • Enable parent and community engagement
  • Serve 1,300 students per week! 

CAPE has 3 cohorts of 21CCLC Funding

    • FY19 Cohort:  New Sullivan and Dyett HS ($300,000 per year)
    • FY15 Cohort:  Chicago Schools:  Telpochcalli ES, Waters ES, North-Grand HS, Washington HS (total of $540,000) 
    • FY15 Cohort:  West Chicago Schools: Currier, Leman, Gary, and Pioneer (total of $540,000)
    • FY22 Cohort:  Taylor and Ashe ES ($300,000 per year)
    • Total annual grants from 21CCLC:  $1,140,000

21CCLC Grants background nationally  

  • Federally Funded Program formula funded by the US Department of Education to all 50 states.  Illinois receives about $51,000,000 per year.  
  • 21CCLC started in 1998 and has enjoyed bipartisan support in Congress.  
  • Funding has been steady — slowly increasing over the years.  It is predictable. 
  • CAPE applies to the Illinois State Board of Education to receive funding in a highly competitive process.  
  • Once awarded, ISBE provides support for five years, with a one-time five year renewal.  



Fact Sheets from ACTNow Afterschool for Children and Teens

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