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April 2010Vol 1, Issue 7

Afterschool ActionNJ Afterschool Action
News, Policy and Research from NJSACC

Welcome to NJ Afterschool Action!
Photo of ED Diane Genco
This month's edition of NJ Afterschool Action focuses on the impact of today's economy on afterschool.

While the national economy is showing signs of recovery, New Jersey is still faced with the uncertainty of budget cuts.  This could have a crippling effect on thousands of New Jersey's working families.

During a budget crisis, we must make the economic case for quality afterschool. Numerous studies indicate that afterschool is a smart investment. Afterschool produces dividends in the form of additional federal funding, job creation and enormous long term savings for tax payers. As advocates, we must make this clear to our elected officials. 

NJSACC is here to advise afterschool programs during this difficult time. We can provide technical assistance, professional development, advocacy training and communication services. Please keep us informed of the status of your afterschool program, and let us know how we can be of assistance. 

Read. Learn. Get involved. Together we can make a difference.
 
Diane Genco
NJSACC logo

In This Issue
Your Responses: How Are Your Afterschool Programs Affected by Budget Cuts?
Why Afterschool is a Wise Investment for New Jersey
What Are Your Plans for Celebrate Afterschool! Outdoors in the Garden State Week?
Seeking Nominees for NJSACC Advisory Committee
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We're using Facebook to share information about trainings and events, and highlight important actions you can take to support afterschool.  Simply click the Facebook icon below to visit and join!

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Your Responses:  How Are Your Afterschool Programs Affected by Budget Cuts?
Last week, we asked for your stories on how your afterschool programs and staff are affected by the current and proposed budget cuts, and your strategic ideas.  You shared challenges and solutions for preserving high quality afterschool care.   

We heard from one program providing before and afterschool care, snacks, athletics and homework help for $10 per day. Municipal cuts will eliminate the township's courtesy bus service that transports kids from the early morning site to the school, and from school to the afterschool site. Without transportation to and from school, the program is no longer a viable solution for working parents. Essentially, the program will lose all business and be forced to close its doors to over 30 children and 15 employees. 

The program is now scrambling to find $30,000 to purchase two buses, not including drivers and insurance. The most likely solution is to increase the daily program fee. 

One township's Board of Education, faced with millions in loss of state revenue, began charging one afterschool school program $20,000 for rent, or 5% of the overall budget. 

Rather than passing the 5% increase on to parents, changes were made to the budget.  Staff salary increases were frozen for the second year in a row. The equivalent of two staff positions were cut. For the first time in 24 years, the program no longer provides snacks to children. 

Program leaders protested the rent charge by speaking out at Board of Education meetings and having parents sign petitions. Ultimately, the rental charge was reduced to $5,000 by charging rent to all outside groups using the facilities, not just this particular afterschool program.

We will continue to collect and share your stories and solutions for coping with the budget crisis. Please email your thoughts here

Why Afterschool is a Wise Investment for New Jersey
As advocates in a time of fiscal crisis, we must convince our elected officials that afterschool is a smart, long term investment for New Jersey.  It's an investment that pays dividends to both kids and taxpayers, by preparing kids for high school graduation and reducing the incidence of drug-use, gang activity, obesity, and pregnancy among youth.

A U.S. Department of Justice study shows that each high-risk youth who is prevented from adopting a life of crime through participation in afterschool programs saves taxpayers between $1.7 million and $2.3 million.

A study of the class of 2007's dropouts estimates that these students could costs taxpayers more than $300 billion over their lifetimes. High quality afterschool programs treat the warning signs of dropouts - lack of interest and attendance, risky behavior and low achievement. 

Afterschools' variety of subject areas and personalized instruction peak students' interest in learning and keep them coming to class more regularly during the traditional school day. Youth development activities teach critical life skills such as problem solving and decision making. 

Afterschool programs providing homework help and tutoring improve grades and test scores. According to the MDRC, just 45 minutes of academic instruction during afterschool can increase math scores.

New Jersey's economy benefits tremendously from afterschool programs. A 2006 study by the National Economic Development and Law Center reveals that the State's childcare field contributes over 65,300 jobs and over $2.5 billion to the New Jersey economy. For parents and employers, afterschool programs are a necessary tool for support. One study estimates that "Parental After-School Stress" costs employers $50 to $300 billion in healthcare and lost productivity costs every year.

Finally, be sure to remind your elected officials that afterschool is incredibly popular with both parties. Almost 90% of New Jersey residents surveyed believe it's important for kids to have access to safe, structured and affordable afterschool programs. 

Click here for more information about how you can advocate for afterschool.
What Are Your Plans for Celebrate Afterschool! Outdoors in the Garden State Week?

Celebrate Afterschool!  Outdoors in the Garden State
Please let us know your plans for Celebrate Afterschool!  Outdoors in the Garden State week, May 10-14, 2010. 

NJSACC is here to help with media and event planning.
Click here for more information.

To share your plans or for help, contact Amy Plotch, amy@amyplotch.comor (908) 789-0259.
Seeking Nominess for NJSACC Advisory Committee
NJSACC seeks nominees for our 2010-2011 Advisory Committee.  Meetings are held quarterly.  The Advisory Committee offers expert advice and networking opportunities.  Members will help strategize our campaign to strengthen Afterschool in New Jersey. 

If you are interested or would like to nominate someone, please contact Amy Plotch, amy@amyplotch.com.
Thank you so much for reading this edition of NJ Afterschool Action.  We want to hear from you, so please send your questions, comments, and ideas to action@njsacc.org. 
 
Sincerely,
 
Diane Genco
New Jersey School Age Care Coalition
 
 
This newsletter is a part of the New Jersey Afterschool Network, the policy arm of NJSACC. The Network builds lasting public support for quality afterschool programs across New Jersey. Led by a public-private partnership, the network enhances public awareness and support; offers guidance for parents, providers, and advocates; strengthens relationships with policymakers, funders, practitioners, and parents, and shares best practices in the field.