Governor Christie: No Compassion For Kids After 3

         “Life begins after school

that’s when bend all the rules”

                                           – 6 Teen Theme Song

According to statistics from the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the peak time when juvenile violent crime happens on weekdays is 3 p.m., when kids are being let out of school.

The non-profit agency known as After 3, which at one time kept as many as 15,000 mostly low-income children busy after school, announced it will close tomorrow. Governor Christie eliminated funding for the program in his budget effective July 1. The legislature in its revised budget added back the funding but Christie used his line item veto to totally defund the group.

Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-37) in a press release has pointed to “the demonstrated success of the program in boosting student achievement levels and using state funds to leverage private dollars.” With zero State funding, After 3 has been unable raise private funds.

Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-15) issued a multimedia package Thursday and said, “It was a great idea; 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.”

Senator Ray Lesniak (D-20) in an email explained that the defunding creates “a void and a difficult task for low-income families, most often single mothers, to handle. Governor Christie has no compassion or understanding for issues like this.”

Time and again we have learned we have a governor who thinks he is is penny wise, but really is pound foolish, who attends to the needs of the wealthy but gives short shrift to the neediest. As we approach the elections for legislators, we should bear in mind the mindless approach of our governor and his Republican legislative colleagues toward our own NJ kids.

Tomorrow at 11:00 AM at Bergen Family Center, 44 Armory Street, Englewood, Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle will be joined by Mitch Schonfeld, President and CEO of Bergen Family Center, which runs Englewood’s NJ After 3 Program, as well as parents of the children that will be impacted by the elimination of this program.

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