EVESHAM TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBS) – More than 100 parents and their kids filled up a school’s parking lot to share personal stories about the benefits of the school.
They hope that the state ultimately rules to keep the doors open.
For 4-year-old Kevin Larkin, his daycare is everything.
“He’s been here since he was 6-months-old,” said his father Brian Larkin.
Larkin is one of many parents protesting a decision by the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law to close their daycare.
“To have the shock of the possibility of having that taken away is just a horrible thought,” said Susanne Krivanek.
Teddy Bear Academy, which opened in 2014, fell under the umbrella of the Evesham Township School District.
The daycare rents the space at the middle school.
Parents who pay the tuition say they foot the bill, not taxpayers.
Back when the school opened, another local daycare called under the Sun Learning Center of Marlton filed a lawsuit arguing that the creation of Teddy Bear Academy as a competitor was beyond the district’s authority.
The state agreed and ruled to close the school.
“We’re all upset about it,” said parent Erika Ocasio.
Erica Ocasio was the first parent to sign her child up at the school.
“They’re wonderful. They care about the kids and I’m sure you heard time and time again, it’s a family. They care about our children,” said Ocasio.
Pre-school director Leah Perlmutter says Teddy Bear Academy’s dilemma is unprecedented.
“We want our legislators and our education commissioner to know what we’re going through down here and help us change this and modify this law so that school districts in New Jersey can operate daycare centers,” said Perlmutter.
That state education commissioner now has 45 days to make a final decision and can overturn the school closure ruling.
That decision is expected to come in September.
“We’re here because we need to be,” said Larkin. “We love this place and we will support it.”
If the state education commissioner decides that the school should close, the daycare has 30 days from September to shut down for good.