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Kruse, Ritz Agree On Benefits Of After-School Programs

Sharon Mollerus

Two sometime statehouse adversaries on education policy may join forces next year to seek state funding for an initiative they agree would benefit the state.

State school superintendent Glenda Ritz hasn‘t always seen eye to eye with Senate Education Chairman Dennis Kruse.

But they told an Indiana Afterschool Network conference they‘d like to see state funding for after-school programs.

Kruse says it won‘t be in this year‘s budget, but says he may introduce legislation next year.

He suggests a modest grant fund of a million dollars or so, with individual grants of up to perhaps $20,000, could make a big difference for local programs.

Kruse cautions plenty of legislators don‘t see it as a priority.

But he and Ritz argue it has the same potential payoff as preschool-- an additional chance for pupils to spend time building skills.

"You know, a kid's been in the school building 6 or 7 hours," says Kruse. "It's healthy for them to get out of there and go someplace else where there's maybe a little more robust physical activity for part of the time. Then also have maybe a reading time or some type of, even engineering."

The two-day Indianapolis conference concludes Tuesday.

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