May 17, 2024–Public Advocates’ Deputy Managing Attorney Angelica Jongco spoke with CalMatters reporter Carolyn Jones about the promise and impact of the community school initiative, which pairs schools with local nonprofits and other government agencies to provide services to students and their parents. The goal is to transform schools into social service hubs with strong ties to families and the community – an approach that research shows can boost student attendance, reduce suspensions and raise test scores. In the face of a state deficit this year and anticipated budget cuts to many California programs, students, parents, educators, and organizations across the state are fighting to keep the community school initiative fully funded in this coming budget year.

Angelica Jongco, deputy managing attorney for Public Advocates, one of a dozen organizations that promotes community school policy in California, said the accountability — and results — will improve with time. Schools have only been getting grant money for two years, which is far too soon to expect results.

“Attendance, test scores, suspension rates — these things do not change automatically,” Jongco said. “That’s all the more reason we need to maintain this investment. Especially in times of challenges and uncertainty, we need to be investing in what works.”

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