Schwarzenegger Stumps for After-School Programs

Flanked by students and teachers, Arnold Schwarzenegger helped launch a campaign to support a proposed ballot measure that would set aside more than $400 million for after-school programs in California.

"This is an education issue, a crime issue and a working family issue," Schwarzenegger said Wednesday at an elementary school in the San Fernando Valley. "Every child who wants and needs one should have a safe, educationally enriching and fun place to go after school. This initiative will make California the nation's leader in after-school programs."

More than 400,000 signatures are needed by June 28 to place the measure on the November ballot.

The initiative would provide money for tutoring and homework help for all students in kindergarten through ninth grade. Schools would have to come up with matching funds to be eligible for the money that will be available beginning in 2004.

Schwarzenegger, a Republican who's chairman of the after-school campaign, is joined by other sponsors such as state Attorney General Bill Lockyer and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin, both Democrats.

The 54-year-old action hero has been active in establishing after-school programs for kids. He started the Inner City Games in 1995, which now serves more than 200,000 children in 15 cities. He also recently formed another after-school program in Los Angeles called Arnold's All Stars.