COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – The South Carolina Department of Education is dedicating $14.5 million to expand summer and after-school programs.

In a partnership with the South Carolina Afterschool Alliance, the department announced on Tuesday it will provide up to $14.5 million in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding to expand summer and after-school programs to address COVID-19 related learning loss in disadvantaged communities.

The department said funding for the first year of the partnership is expected to serve 45 organizations and over 4,000 students.

“Local partnerships that leverage new and existing relationships between schools, families, and community organizations can provide the targeted support that students who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic need to accelerate their learning,” said State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman. “By working with the South Carolina Afterschool Alliance, we can grow proven programs and create new ones that will serve our students and their families now and into the future. We are excited about the opportunities this funding will create and the year-round learning that will result from this investment.”

The partnership between the SCDE and the SCAA will run through September 2024.