Some 6,476 children in Maine would lose their after school program, if the budget proposal the president recently sent to Congress makes it into law.

Despite years of research proving that after school and summer learning programs keep kids safe, inspire them to learn and help relieve working parents of worries about what their children are up to in the afternoon hours and during long summer days, the president’s budget would eliminate the 21st Century Community Learning Centers. That’s the principal federal funding stream for after school and summer learning programs and, without it, some 1.7 million children across the nation would lose the after school programs their families rely on.

That would be a tragedy. Children would be left without supervision. They would lose terrific learning opportunities, particularly in the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) where after school programs excel.

Our 21st Century grants at the Lewiston public schools is indispensable. Without it, after school and summer programs would not continue and over 750 children and families in Lewiston would lose after school care.

Fortunately, Congress doesn’t have to rubber-stamp the president’s after school mistake.

I urge members of Congress to increase, not eliminate, federal funding for after school programs.

Jenn Carter, 21st Century program director, Lewiston public schools