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(4th LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT) – Assemblyman Paul Moriarty on Wednesday decried Gov. Chris Christie’s decision to again propose eliminating state funding for an invaluable after-school program that helps working parents and has proven to help children learn.
“So the new normal means punishing working families and their children?” asked Moriarty (D-Gloucester/Camden). “Unbelievable. This governor’s assault on working class New Jerseyans continues and is actually quite shocking. We had to go through this last year, and here we are back once again fighting against this governor for working families.”
Christie’s budget proposal seeks to eliminate state funding for the New Jersey After 3 program to save $3 million out of a nearly $30 billion budget.
Last year, Christie also proposed eliminating funding for the program, but after Moriarty and other legislators objected, he restored the $3 million.
“Gov. Christie often talks about not wasting a child’s future, yet turns around time and time again and attacks a program that helps children build strong futures,” Moriarty said. “I have been a leading voice for controlling spending, but we cannot do so blindly. This cut, in particular, is an assault on New Jersey’s middle-class.”
Moriarty noted Christie has vowed support for a plan to find $360 million in public money to create a voucher system for private schools.
“The governor backs spending public money to send students to private schools but can’t find 3 million for after-school care for our public school kids,” Moriarty said.
New Jersey After 3 is a statewide network of afterschool programs in urban, suburban and rural school districts. Moriarty said the cut would likely particularly hit hard in communities such as Glassboro.
“This program is a cost-effective model that keeps children safe, improves child achievement and allows middle-class families to work full-time,” Moriarty said. “This is exactly the type of program we need to protect during tough economic times, not threaten with closure.”
Moriarty noted that studies show that students who participated in New Jersey After 3 programs for two or more years achieved significant gains in language arts skills and demonstrated improvements in study skills, math skills and computer skills.
“This is consistent with studies that indicate high-quality afterschool programs improve student achievement and put students on-track towards a high school diploma and success in life,” Moriarty said.