Parents raise money to save kindergarten

January 25, 2011 2:43:21 PM PST
Parents stepped up and took action to save their children's kindergarten.

It started when New Jersey's budget problems meant a dramatic cutback in one school district's kindergarten program.

Residents, including some without kids, raised money to keep the program alive.

Nearly half a million dollars later, its mission accomplished.

Samuel is one busy kindergartener.

"When he comes home with the things he's learned, I'm just blown away," said Dr. Hecht, Samuel's father.

So when the Bernards Township School District was forced to consider slicing kindergarten to a two and a half hour, half day because of state budget cuts, parents spoke out.

"Two and a half hours, they don't have time to get their coats off and get in their seats," said Janina Hecht, Samuel's mother.

"It's heartbreaking to think she, and any other kid would not get the benefits of a full day of school," said Deborah Naude, a parent.

So, all of the parents stepped up.

"This was nothing short of a modern day Miracle on 34th Street. Envelopes and all," said another parent.

In three and a half weeks, from December 22nd to January 19th, they mustered a fundraiser to save full day kindergarten.

They collected more than $420,000.

"It was so exciting, we were getting checks for $2,000, people saying wait, how long are you going to be out here," said Heather Olivo, a parent.

Even first grader Ethan gave $64 from his piggy bank.

"Give it to the people who are trying to save kindergarten," said Ethan Green, a first grader.

Bernards Township is an affluent community, where the median income is nearly $130,000.

Parents move here for the good schools, and say they'll do what they can to maintain them.

They won the full day kindergarten battle for 400 little ones who can't wait until September.

"On birthdays, we bring in snacks! At my school, we do weather watcher, because I want to learn," said a kindergartner.

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