ENGLEWOOD – The assemblywoman whose save-NJ After 3 press conference was postponed by the weather conditions this morning expressed some gratitude that Gov. Christie has made moves to keep the program afloat, but cast doubt on his timing.
Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, (D-37), Englewood, said in a release this afternoon that she was relieved that the after-school program will remain open, but she questioned much of the decision-making behind the public/private partnership created by the Christie administration.
“It’s great that NJ After 3 is being saved. However, this would have been much more welcome news before the school year started, not conveniently right before an election and after much criticism has been levied against the Governor’s decision to defund this successful program,” she said.
“It’s unfortunate that the administration did not begin preparing to address this issue before funding ran out in July. At the Englewood program in my district, parents are now being charged double what they previously paid to compensate for the lack of funding and as a result nearly 15 percent of the families enrolled last year have been forced to drop out of the program.”
Christie announced today that a public-private partnership, involving some assistance from a hedge fund investor, would help keep the program in operation.
Huttle said, “It’s also interesting that the organization the Governor has chosen to take over the reins of the NJ After 3 program is run by wealthy hedge fund managers who have spent millions of dollars on ads singing his praises.
“The Governor might like to claim that the program had very little philanthropic support, but the facts tell a different story. Since 2004, the NJ After 3 program has received $31 million in matching cash contributions and in kind support from the likes of major corporations such as PSE&G, Capital One Bank, State Farm, PNC Bank, AT&T, Subaru, Campbell Soup, Merck, and Sanofi Aventis.”