BERNARDS TOWNSHIP, N.J. (WCBS 880/1010 WINS/AP) — A group has raised $470,000 to save a central New Jersey school district’s full-day kindergarten program threatened by funding cuts.

The jobs of eight teachers would be saved if the Bernards Township school board votes to accept the money raised by Dr. Adam Hecht and his wife. School Superintendent Valerie Goger challenged Hecht on Dec. 20 to raise the money.

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“I raised my voice, I spoke out of turn, the president of the Board of Education called the police on me because I was so frustrated,” Hecht told 1010 WINS. “It was at that time that I realized that if we could raise the funds as a community we could restore kindergarten and not have to pay for what the board was offering us.”

Hecht told WCBS 880 Reporter Kelly Waldron the alternative was a YMCA wrap-around program costing $3,000-$3,500 per year.

WCBS 880 Reporter Kelly Waldron talks with Dr. Hecht who is fighting to save kindergarten.

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The school board had voted in November to eliminate full-day kindergarten in the 2011-12 school year to help close an anticipated budget gap.

Janina Hecht told The Courier News of Bridgewater she and her husband were flooded with contributions after Jan. 2. Some 438 donors had given money to the Bernards Township Public School Initiative.

To save the program, they needed to raise about $420,000 dollars which would have cost parents about $2,000. Hecht started a grass roots organization and raised $470,000 dollars over the past three weeks.

The money will be returned if full-day kindergarten can’t be restored.

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