SOURCE: New Jersey After 3

New Jersey After 3

July 01, 2011 12:31 ET

Governor Christie Vetoes Funding for New Jersey After 3 Statewide Network of Afterschool Programs

One of the State's Most Cost-Effective School Reform Solutions Eliminated

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ--(Marketwire - Jul 1, 2011) - The following is a statement from New Jersey After 3 regarding Governor Christie's veto to eliminate funding to New Jersey After 3.

Governor Christie used the line-item veto to eliminate funding to New Jersey After 3 yesterday. New Jersey After 3 is a statewide, nonprofit organization that expands learning time in public schools each school day through evidence-based afterschool programs. The first statewide public/private partnership of its kind, New Jersey After 3 partners with community-based nonprofit organizations (e.g., Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCAs ) to serve thousands of children each school day.

The Governor's veto delivers a devastating blow to some 5,000 children and their families who depend on these high-quality afterschool programs to:

1. Improve student achievement by expanding learning time;
2. Keep kids safe during the most dangerous time for children;
3. Promote positive youth development and critical 21st Century skills;
4. Support working families, allowing parents to work by providing supervised care.

New Jersey After 3 is an innovative model for how State support can leverage additional resources to tackle critical problems. "This cut doesn't make financial sense," said Mark Valli, President & CEO of New Jersey After 3. "New Jersey After 3 is a cost-effective school reform solution that utilizes State investment to leverage private and other public funding to maximize our impact," explained Valli. "Our public/private partnership is exactly the type of innovative strategy that the State should be looking to expand. New Jersey After 3 was able to deliver a 150% rate of return on the State's investment in FY 11, and our programs have been evaluated and proven to be effective in promoting student achievement and workforce development. How many other programs that can deliver those kinds of results?"

COST-EFFECTIVE MODEL: The budget cut doesn't make financial sense in the short term or the long term. With over 200 failing schools in New Jersey, New Jersey After 3 stands out as an exceptionally cost-effective school reform strategy. The State's $3 million investment (.0001 of the State budget or 1/100 of 1%) in New Jersey After 3 during FY11 was $600 per child, yet New Jersey After 3 students gain 3 hours, or more than 40% more learning time over the traditional school day. With an exceptionally high average daily attendance of over 80%, New Jersey After 3 delivers its evidence-based afterschool programs for less than half the average cost of other high-quality programs, according to a large-scale national study.

In addition to achieving cost efficient programs, New Jersey After 3 leverages its State funding to secure private investments in afterschool programming. Despite turbulent economic times, the State investment of $3 million in New Jersey After 3 attracted over $4.5 million in additional support this year -- delivering a 150% rate of return. However, without public support, New Jersey After 3 will lose virtually all of this outside investment.

In the long-term, the cost of the cut to New Jersey taxpayers will likely be much greater. The cost-benefits of high-quality afterschool programs are well-documented. National studies have demonstrated that afterschool programs save taxpayers up to $12 in social service costs for every $1 invested. A U.S. Department of Justice study shows that for each high-risk youth steered clear of the criminal justice system through participation in afterschool programs, taxpayers save $2 million over the course of the child's lifetime. If only 1% of New Jersey After 3's students fall into that category the costs to New Jersey taxpayers is $100,000,000 for each class of students.

PUBLIC SUPPORT: New Jersey voters have indicated that they see public funding for afterschool programs as a wise investment that delivers long and short-term benefits. A recent Monmouth University Poll revealed that 90% of New Jersey residents feel it is important for all school-age children to have access to high-quality afterschool programs and two-thirds of residents believe that other programs should be cut before afterschool programs. Other polls by Eagleton and Afterschool Alliance documented that over 80% of New Jersey residents support public funding for afterschool and that this support cuts across party and demographic lines.

A PROVEN STRATEGY: There is a wealth of research which supports expanded learning time as a proven method for helping students to do better in school, graduate on time, and stay out of trouble. More specifically, two separate independent evaluations have demonstrated New Jersey After 3's positive impact on student achievement and behavior, including language arts skills, study skills, and school engagement.

Additionally, afterschool programs are an important workforce development strategy, which is especially important in times of high unemployment. A recent independent study of New Jersey After 3 documented that 90% of parents said the New Jersey After 3 programs helped them keep their jobs.

IMMEDIATE IMPACT: Without these programs, the safety and well-being of thousands of New Jersey students will be in serious jeopardy. Some 5,000 students in thirteen school districts across the State will be left unsupervised during the most dangerous time for kids, 3 pm to 6 pm, during which time juvenile crime rates triple and children are most likely to experiment with risky behavior. The effects of putting more kids on the streets at a time when urban districts are increasingly forced to cut social services and lay off public safety officers, have explosive potential to detrimentally impact community well-being.

Furthermore, the workforce in these communities will be hit hard. More than 500 afterschool educators will lose their jobs, and thousands of working parents will no longer have affordable afterschool options for their children. Finally, through the elimination of public support, millions of dollars in private investments in afterschool programs will be jeopardized, with trickle-down effects impacting public school and community nonprofit partners that are already facing precarious economic times.

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Contact Information

    Shannon Boehmer
    New Jersey After 3
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