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Advocacy groups fight afterschool budget cuts

ALBANY - Parents who rely on free after-school programs and communities that benefit from keeping unsupervised teens off the street could lose out if lawmakers approve $11 million in program cuts proposed by Gov. David A. Paterson.

With less than two months before the state budget is due, advocacy groups are raising their voices and holding out their hats, pleading "not me." The Advantage After School Program would be cut to $17 million under Paterson's proposal, and advocates said Wednesday that would force 79 of the 303 program sites to close when their contracts expire this year.

Paterson has said he doesn't like having to plan for deep cuts, but he's trying to close an estimated $8.2-billion budget deficit.

- AP

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