For months, the residents of Evesham have been fighting to save a day care they trust, the Teddy Bear Academy.
Mothers, fathers and teachers wrote letters, made hundreds of calls, and held a rally on the Statehouse steps in Trenton, all in the name of keeping open the popular child care program that’s run by the township’s school district.
The overwhelming outpouring of support came after the district was told it had to close the day care by the end of this school year due to a state ruling based off current legislation. Sen. Dawn Marie Addiego, Assemblyman Ryan Peters and I heard the call from our constituents and acted.
Last month, we introduced Bill A-4864/S-3330, which would allow school districts to operate day cares during school hours while accepting children that are not of school age and out of district. The change in the law would essentially allow the Teddy Bear Academy to continue to provide excellent care to children who are not old enough to attend school.
High taxes and cost of living make New Jersey a state where both parents have to work. It’s not realistic to get by here on one income. During these times, it seems unconscionable to rip away something that parents not only trust but absolutely need.
The Evesham School District came up with a creative solution to declining enrollment and unused facility space. The day care not only provides parents with a secure place to drop off their children, but also provides tax relief through enrollment revenue. It’s a model that should be used by the state and will be if our bill passes.
To make that happen, we’re going to need assistance in the coming months. Just as your support went a long way in getting the bill written, it will go a long way during the process of getting it passed. In the coming months, we will update our constituents on where the bill is in the process and whom they can call or write to voice their opinions.
Let’s push this through Trenton so families can continue to call the Teddy Bear Academy a second home. Stay vigilant for calls to action. We will need your help.
Joe Howarth is a resident of Evesham and a New Jersey assemblyman who represents the 8th District.