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Assembly Education Committee Chair Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr. on Tuesday expressed his outrage at the Christie administration’s elimination of valuable after school programs.

Responding to reports today that the NJ After 3 program will cease operations next Monday because of Governor Christie’s elimination of state funding for the program, Diegnan noted that Democrats had reinserted funding for the program in this year’s budget, only to have it eliminated by Christie’s line-item veto.

“This is a program that, at the height of its funding, provided a productive environment for 10,000 children after school. Not only did it have demonstrable success improving student achievement levels, but it also gave working and middle class parents the peace of mind knowing their children were in a safe environment and not on the streets.

“This is one of the most effective examples we have of putting taxpayer dollars to good use. According to an independent 3-year study, with each dollar invested in an at-risk child, there is a return of approximately $9 to $12. Not to mention, the program has leveraged over $31 million in matching cash contributions and in-kind support since 2004.

“I simply can’t understand how the Governor can sit back and ignore these facts. Our kids are our future. This action is both shortsighted and hurtful,” said Diegnan (D-Middlesex).