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New York making $35 million available for after school programs statewide

Gov. Andrew Cuomo sits with LeMoyne Elementary 5th grader Pratima Neopaney Tuesday

New York State is pumping more money into after school programs in central and northern New York. Gov. Cuomo announced the expansion of the program at a Syracuse elementary school Tuesday.

LeMoyne Elementary 5th grader Pratima Neopaney introduced the governor, explaining why she likes taking part in after school programs.

“Instead of going home and going on Facebook, I get to work on my math homework, which is my favorite subject. Or practice dance with my dance teacher,” she said.

School officials say the money from the state will extend the enrichment programs offered to kids every day. All told, nearly $2 million in Empire State After School funds have been awarded to the Oswego and Syracuse City School Districts, creating space for more than 1,200 more children. The Watertown and Utica City School districts will also get more than $400,000 each. Cuomo says spending money on after school activities is worth it.

“After school, keeping them off the streets, frankly, freeing up the parents so the parents don’t have to be home at 3:00, and making those after school hours productive, is a great investment,” said Cuomo.

Cuomo says there’s a need for more emphasis on programs that can enhance learning outside classroom time.

“You can learn more in math or whatever your favorite topic is. And that’s a lot more beneficial than going home at 3:00 and sitting on the couch and watching TV, or playing video games,” he said.

As part of this year’s state budget, a total of $35 million has been put aside for districts across the state over a five year period to pay for after school programs.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.