With the state planning to cut $4,300,000 from the Toms River Regional School District, parents, teachers, and other members of the community are freaking out over the possible loss of extra-curricular activities.

A community meeting was held Wednesday night, and TRPD Chief Mitch Little took time to read a letter that he wrote to Governor Murphy.

In case you have a little trouble reading that, here is the full transcript:

Dear Governor Murphy,

What happens when the Friday Night Lights go out?

I am writing to you in regard to the state funding for the Toms River Regional School District. As the Toms River Police Chief, I take great pride in our community and our low crime rates here in Toms River. Our police department and our school district proudly work hand in hand to help shape the youth in our town. Together we strive to teach respect and responsibility while forming positive relationships and well-rounded adolescents.

The Toms River Regional School District provides much more than a stellar education to the children of this town. Their excellent after-school programs offer highly developed academic, social-emotional, and developmental support that can help students retain and develop concepts they learn in the classroom through academic enrichment programs led by their dedicated staff and mentors. They offer healthy meals and organized activities that some children are not afforded at home. School-based clubs and athletics have an immeasurable value and have repeatedly proven to be the heart and soul of a community. These programs, clubs, and sports represent a lifeline for students who are otherwise left unsupervised after the final bell of the day rings.

After-school activities provide a safe haven for children whose parents are working beyond school hours. In addition to the above listed benefits, having a place for children keeps them off the streets and out of mischief. Unsupervised after-school hours are prime time for kids to smoke, drink, use drugs, or be involved in a car crash. Keeping children engaged in healthy activities deters them from getting into trouble with the law. Cutting school funding is forcing our school district to cut after-school programs and opening the door for juvenile crime rates to skyrocket within our community.

I am respectfully requesting you reconsider these detrimental cuts to our town and restore the funding you have already taken from the district and this community. As the saying goes, "An idle mind is the devil's workshop", are you, Governor Murphy, prepared to own the consequences of your decisions?

MITCHELL A. LITTLE
Chief of Police

I know it can be tough to rally around a town that you don't live in - if your child is going to school in Lacey, you don't worry about Toms River. Still, when you see a neighboring community getting nailed with million-dollar budget cuts, it makes you worry about what will happen in other communities. We also can't live in that bubble where "if it doesn't directly affect me, I don't care", because there is an obvious domino effect with things like this. If the budget is slashed in one town, it will likely be slashed in others.

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