TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Ronald L. Rice to require Abbott school districts to develop an after-school program and submit it to voters for funding consent was approved by the full Senate today by a vote of 34 to 2.
“The success of our children greatly depends on their ability to be involved in high-quality after-school programs that enhance learning and help them grow,” said Senator Rice, D-Essex. “After school programs empower children to excel because they help develop students’ emotional and academic skills in a safe environment. We can’t expect our children to stay no to gangs and drugs if we don’t provide them with an alternative to life on the street.”
Senator Rice’s bill, S-1175, would mandate that the board of education of each Abbott district develops a plan for a comprehensive program for after school activities. The plan would need to include: the goals and objectives of the program; the description of the recreational, academic and civic enrichment activities; the qualifications of the employees; the schedule; the eligibility requirements; and the overall cost.
According to Senator Rice, once the original plan is developed, the board would conduct two public hearings to receive community input.
“It has been proven throughout the country that children benefit socially, emotionally, and academically when they have easy access to enriching activities and the opportunity to bond with their peers in a safe environment,” said Senator Rice. “Creating an after school program for our children will help us fulfill our promise to help them reach their full potential.”
The bill now heads to the Assembly for consideration.