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Mayors Urge Support for 21st Century Centers

Forty-five mayors wrote Congress this month, urging members to continue and expand federal support for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program.

The mayors—all affiliated with the U.S. Conference of Mayors—addressed their letter to Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, and Sen. Michael Enzi, R-Wyo., the committee's ranking minority member. The mayors wrote: "As mayors working in cities all over the nation, we understand how critical this program is to providing support for more than 1 million children in all 50 states and the District of Columbia."

As many readers probably know, advocates are concerned that the Obama administration has proposed using some funding from the learning-centers program to pay for $10 million worth of full-service community schools and $3 million in competitive-grant funds that the program doesn't have to support now. Many see this as a subtle budget cut.

On a related note, the Afterschool Alliance Web page announcing the letter has a nifty tool allowing advocates to easily zip off an e-mail to their Congress members and President Obama urging them to boost funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers. All you have to do is type in your ZIP code, and information pops up with e-mails for the senators and representatives in your area.

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