A new bill from Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline would require public schools to collaborate more closely with community groups and nonprofits to increase afterschool programs for students.
In Providence, the Providence After School Alliance serves roughly 2,000 students, most of them from the city's middle schools. Executive Director Hillary Salmons says there's a long waiting list.
"There's a huge demand," Salmons said. "Middle schoolers love the Afterschool Zone. We have a lot more demand than supply."
Salmons says this bill would give her nonprofit more access to federal funding, which could help stabilize the budget and possibly pave the way for an expansion. She believes the bill would increase the chances of winning a multi-year federal grant.
"It's a wearing job to be chasing $3 million a year and to have to do half of that privately, and so when you get a five-year federal grant, it doesn't mean you stop raising money and thinking about sustainability and diversifying your funding sources, but it's a big boost."
Cicilline's office says the bill is also meant to encourage public schools to go after more private grant funding for afterschool programs.