Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union) on Thursday called the unfortunate demise of the NJ After 3 program extremely sad and frustrating given the enormous benefits the program provided both for working families and taxpayers.
After receiving official word from NJ After 3 CEO Mark Valli that the program will cease operations on Monday, October 31, Stender issued the following statement:
“NJ After 3 was the best example of a joint partnership the state could hope for. Not only did it protect children by providing a safe environment for kids after school, but it leveraged taxpayer dollars to secure corporate support.
“It is beyond unfortunate that the children of working-class families have to be the latest casualty in the Governor’s budget all so he can stand with millionaires to preserve their tax breaks. The deeper we get into this fiscal year, the more we see the real-life ramifications of this budget playing out.
“Since the start of the new school year, After 3 programs throughout the state have been forced to scale back enrollment or double the cost for participation, a move that has left thousands of parents in the lurch, many of whom don’t have other viable options for their children after school.
“Far sadder will be the long-term ramifications. The NJ After 3 program has proven highly successful in boosting students’ achievement and comprehension levels, which play a huge role in their outcome later in life.
“With all of the Governor’s talk about wanting to transform our schools to better prepare children to succeed in the highly competitive global market, you would think he would understand the value of investing in their future early.”