Kathy Ebert is the owner of New Discovery Childcare Center
I appreciate that you value our work with your children and have chosen New Discovery – many of you for several years. Connections to children and families have been the heart and soul of my commitment in Kings Park over the last 30 years. I wanted you to hear from me about our space in the San Remo Building.
Although all of the details are not entirely clear, we are facing a great loss. Kings Park Schools will close the doors of this building to your children after June 30.
The children who should be here this summer and next year will not be able to use the building. It has never been my intention to shut down the program. The construction of a cell tower behind the playground has been planned by the district, and a time line for its implementation was presented to the residents of Kings Park on February 28.
When our school year ends, New Discovery must move out. Shortly after, cell tower construction begins. If that’s progress, then the song “they paved paradise and put up a parking lot” says it all about what is happening to our children. It has never been my intention to shut down the program and I will continue to look for a new location.
We are all anxious to have a more positive outcome for the children. Several parents have asked if there is something they can do. The answer is that everyone should fight for New Discovery to stay in the building. If you want to do something to continue the program, you need to let your elected school board members know that this situation is not good for your children. You can attend the meetings or e-mail school board members. Tell them that your children need this program and it is being stolen right out from under their noses.
Your children are depending on you to make sure they get quality early education. The children need to be respected. If you live in Kings Park, you are paying public officials to work on behalf of your children, not to promote non-educational special interests.
Many of you have been actively questioning school district officials about their decision to evict New Discovery. You have been told that the district loses money on our rental. That needs to be challenged.
According to budget documents on the district website, revenue from New Discovery rental has been removed from the budget, but expenses for San Remo have not been reduced.
Administrators have repeatedly told me that San Remo needs custodial service because we have children in the building. However, next year’s budget shows the same custodial expense for San Remo as this year, with no revenue from New Discovery or any other child care program. Also, custodial service at San Remo has not been assigned in the past or present time for exclusive service to New Discovery. The building is used daily by school district administration offices, first floor conference and meeting rooms, and a warehouse for district supplies. It is also used by community organizations such as girl scouts, soccer, basketball, and SEPTA.
Other expenses in San Remo such as repairs and upkeep of grounds are the same in next year’s budget. Expenses for custodial supplies are not separately listed for San Remo, but the budget does not indicate a decrease. District wide expense for heat, water, and electric are higher in next year’s budget than they are this year.
Where is the logic that our program costs the school district if expenses are the same or higher with New Discovery rental income removed from the budget? New Discovery has paid over 3.5 million dollars in rent to Kings Park School District since 1983. Isn’t income for the district that also invests in the children of Kings Park a safe and sound choice?
It saddens me to think that in place of curious young learners in the playground, it will be empty and a cell phone tower will be erected in its place. The gardens planted and tended by the children will be gone. There will be no art work, laughter, learning, and joy on the first floor of San Remo and the rooms will be used for storage instead of for thriving, healthy children. Is that how young children and their community environment should be treated?
New Discovery is a small “mom and pop” program struggling through a slow economic recovery from recession and a current trend of declining enrollment in our schools. As the original owner of New Discovery, I have worked together with families for 30 years to meet the needs of their children. I would like to continue providing your children with a quality community based program in Kings Park. If you need my assistance at this time, please don’t hesitate to let me know.
New Discovery is an asset to Kings Park. We provide a source of income to the district, a valuable program to the children of the community, and employment to district residents. Voice your concerns to the school board of Kings Park School District and join the New Discovery parents who have been speaking up on behalf of their children.
Owner, New Discovery Childcare Center