HEMPSTEAD, Nassau County (WABC) -- Eyewitness News has learned that two Long Island school districts will be receiving state dollars to expand their after school programs.
The Hempstead School District will receive $1.4 million to provide after school programs to 877 additional students. The Uniondale School District will have 885 additional spots costing $1.42 million.
The money comes from the $35 million Empire State After-School Program which Governor Andrew Cuomo announced last May.
Districts had to apply for the money. In order to be eligible, districts had to have a child poverty rate of more than 30 percent in 2015.
Cuomo told a group of Hempstead students Thursday that the money for these programs is important because it keeps them competitive with the rest of the world.
"There are countries that are around this globe where they have 12-month-a-year education, they have school that starts at 7 o'clock in the morning and goes to 7 o'clock at night. Now, you can say poor kids, yeah, but they're going to be your competitors," he said.
Axel Lopez, a 6th grader in the Hempstead School District, said he hopes that means more kids can join the JROTC program, which he does twice a week after school. He said he's learned so much from the program.
"Tuesday's we usually talk about leadership, the flag and stuff and Wednesday's we do PT, which is physical training," Lopez said.