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After school program fund inches ahead

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Delaware Public Media
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An effort to better fund and create Delaware after school programs is moving through the General Assembly.

 

A House committee approved the bill unanimously Wednesday, despite concerns from Republicans over its potential cost.

 

House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst (D-Delaware City) is sponsoring the legislation, calling for $10 million to bankroll it.

“Over the last year we’ve taken music, arts and all those special programs out of the school day and this is an opportunity that the enrichment program could provide that as an addition to the children’s day," Longhurst said.

Newark Republican Rep. Mike Ramone says costs for running the initiative could balloon quickly.  He’s also concerned it would draw kids away from already established after school programs.

 

“The worst case scenario is a year or two from now, our YMCAs, our [Boys and Girls] clubs, our PAL centers all have such a small amount of people they can’t continue to offer their service," Ramone said.

 

No GOP lawmaker has signed on to the legislation, but several backed it to get out of committee.

 

Built-in accoutability measures also came up. Those already in the bill cover a child’s grades, school attendance and one of several other categories – including their criminal record and standardized test scores.

 

The bill must now go through an appropriations committee before heading to the full House for a vote.

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