Schoolchildren in Newark rally for after-school program funding

(12/04/04) NEWARK - The National Community Education Association has ranked the after-school programs in the Newark districts the best in the nation. On Saturday, schoolchildren from Newark marched down Broad Street from City Hall to Symphony Hall to show their support for after-school activities.

When the school day ends, kids in Newark get a chance to experience everything from dance and music to computers and sports. There are also classes in nutrition and character building courses.

Kids took to the streets to make sure lawmakers continue to fund the after-school programs. The children say this is what keeps them off the street and out of trouble. School officials say the activities are funded mostly through federal dollars; the state offers little support.

Newark has grown from 15 schools offering after-school programs to more than 75 schools servicing 10,000 students a day. But 8,000 kids are still on a waiting list for some activities, so school officials are asking for more funding.

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