(TRENTON) — Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Mercer) issued a multimedia package Thursday in which she discusses the ramifications of the announced insolvency of NJ After 3, following the elimination of its state funding by Governor Christie in his most recent budget.
Founded in 2004, the New Jersey After 3 is a public/private partnership program that partners with local community organizations and public schools to expand learning time by more than 40 percent each school day, keeping kids safe, improving student achievement and providing invaluable and affordable support to working families.
The following six sites in Trenton will be affected by the end of the program next Monday:
- The Boys and Girls Club of Trenton, serving the Monument School, the Grant School, the Mott School, the Gregory School and the P.J. Hill School; and
- Education Works, serving the Cadwalader School, the Franklin School and the Wilson School.
The multimedia package consists of a video of the Assemblywoman discussing her concerns and frustrations over the shuttering of the program and audio and a transcript of same.
The audio file is available upon request.
A transcript of Assemblywoman Watson Coleman’s comments is appended below:
Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Mercer):
“It’s so sad to know that New Jersey After 3 is no longer going to be serving both the needs of students as well as their parents.
“It was a great idea; it was an important idea; it was essential on a number of levels. First of all, it extended the school day and it gave students an opportunity to be in both an academic and a social environment when the traditional three-o’clock school day stopped. It had children getting help with their social skills as well as their homework. It was good for parents because it was an opportunity to ensure that their children were in an environment that was safe and productive.
“During budget season, we heard from mothers who were just so distraught that there would possibly be the end to this program, because then they had to make a decision: do they quit their job to protect their child? What are the alternatives for them? And they were devastated by the prospects of losing the after school program because there was no good solution to their problem.
“Let me speak to it from the perspective of my district. In the City of Trenton, that recently laid off 105 [police] officers. In the City of Trenton, where shootings are taking place on a regular basis. In the City of Trenton, where we have numerous challenges, educationally and otherwise, there are six or so programs that are going to be shut down. So, these children will have to go someplace after 3 p.m.
“The governor doesn’t care about our children who are living in these unsafe, potentially dangerous, environments. These are not suburban children who can be given a key and sent home in a quiet neighborhood. These are children who have to traverse some very dangerous neighborhoods and intersections to get home.
“And Governor Christie is again failing these families, our communities and the people that reside there.”