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New York needs to invest in after-school programs

New York had the opportunity to almost triple the state’s investment in youth outcomes through the $160 million additional funding proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo for statewide after-school programs. It is disappointing the final state budget failed to include any additional funding to support these crucial programs that promote safety, wellness, social development and academic achievement.

The work of effectively educating children to succeed in college, career and beyond is a task that schools should not be asked to do on their own. Community organizations can play a crucial role in bringing essential resources and expertise to schools, complementing school curriculums with additional academic support, enrichment activities, mentoring and character development. Recent studies have found that participation in high-quality after-school programs with community partners can increase graduation rates, raise grades and test scores, and improve school attendance.

As an institution, SUNY Buffalo State is committed to the intellectual, personal and professional growth of its students, faculty and staff. The goal of the college is to inspire a lifelong passion for learning and to empower a diverse population of students to succeed as citizens of a challenging world. The Center for Excellence in Urban and Rural Education has active collaborations and partnerships with numerous community organizations in Erie County. We have seen the significant impact quality after-school programming makes on the immediate and long-range academic (and life) success of children.

After-school programs make substantial contributions to the children and families of Buffalo. However, there are tens of thousands of students in our region who still need access to programs. We believe the state has missed an important opportunity to invest in both the present and future.

Gina M. Pannozzo

Project Director

Center for Excellence in

Urban and Rural Education