At no additional cost, the will expand busing to children enrolled in pre-k programs at eight local private schools.
“If we provide transportation for kindergarten to 12, there’s no reason not to provide it for pre-k,” Lawrence Superintendent Gary Schall told Patch. “What it does is say that we’re a community that supports one another. This district has the support of private school parents that have a vested interest.”
The eight schools — , Five Towns Early Learning Center, , , Yeshiva Darchei Torah in Far Rockaway, in Woodmere, and Bnois Bais Yaakov in Far Rockaway — met the requirements set forth by the district in a May 21 request for proposal. The Lawrence Board of Education approved the partnership at its monthly meeting on Monday.
“What this partnership has done is enable us to reallocate the grant money to agencies and provide transportation to all 4 year olds in a pre-k program,” Schall said. “The fact that we provide this at no additional cost really becomes a win-win for the community. It’s a win-win for 4 year olds and a validation of the importance for pre-k in the community.”
The district will provide the busing by “maximizing” the efficiency of routes, according to Schall. And he pointed out that it’s all being done within the rules of New York State law.
“A District 15 student is a District 15 student,” he said, “whether they go to public or private school.”
Changes Coming After Disappointing Test Scores
After recent disappointing standardized test scores showed only a slight improvement over last year’s, Schall said he is prepared to take “bold and drastic steps” to address the issue.
The superintendent said he could not give specifics on the measures until he talks to vested parties, such as administrators and teachers. He plans to hold a town hall meeting on the issue in September.
“The administration fully recognizes the severity of the situation of the test scores,” he said. “It’s not going to be business as usual.”
Trustee Dr. David Sussman said the board would commit any resources to the administration to “fix these scores.”
“They won’t be allowed to stay the way they are,” he said.