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SD 15 to Provide Pre-K Busing for 8 Private Schools

Superintendent says additional transportation comes at no additional cost for district. Meanwhile, he also addresses disappointing standardized test scores.

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.

Chrissy August 15, 2012 at 05:23 PM
I am only saying it because all the pre-k programs listed in the article happen to be Jewish, there are other programs available in the area, and outside the five towns from a variety of cultures, religions, groups, businesses, WHATEVER!
M. Alvarez August 15, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Five Towns Early Learning Center is definitely not Jewish, and I believe the JCC has all faiths and denominations in their program. I hope some bored soul wastes their time and money suing on this. Should be interesting....
Igwheet August 15, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Good idea. But first you need to have Catholic, Christian, Protestant, Muslim, Sikh, etc.schools. The only private schools in the District 15 are Jewish schools. The only thing unfair is the anger being directed at innocent little kids who just happen to be different than you.
D Fusco August 15, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Still not finding any source for the "NYS requirement that pre-k funding be shared between public and private providers". Unless you are referring to the requirement that 10% of Universal Pre-K providers be outside of the actual public school. But I'm still not seeing any change in the law since 2007 when the Courts told Lawrence it could not provide pre-K busing to private school students. Maybe I'm missing something? In any event, it looks like NYS regulations DO mandate that non-public pre-K providers who partake in state aid refrain from religious education, and all religious symbols must be covered up, so the fuss about religious schools really should be a non-starter, for this issue anyway. I'm sure that the Board takes all steps to ensure that any program that shares in the District's UPK funding complies with the state regs. Of course, not sure if these 8 organizations are sharing in the District's state aid, or if this grant is separate and apart. I'm still just looking for more info. Too bad the RFP isn't available anywhere online! I assume I could get a copy if I FOIL'ed it. Or maybe a nice member of the press could do that and make it available online???
Stephen J. Bronner August 15, 2012 at 06:55 PM
I'll see what I can do!
Igwheet August 15, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Glad to know you have nothing against the great group of Orthodox Jews who just happened to show up when the public schools took a nosedive. Being that there's a gap of about 25 years from the early 80's until anyone from that great group of people sat on the school board, I wonder how you made that connection. I recall that when the 80's hit, the width of neckties nosedived, just about when all those people showed up. Just saying. Every possible loop hole to gain leverage? Interests lie elsewhere? They rally to limit the amount of taxes that go to public schools kids? Canard much? Let me guess. Some of your best friends are Jewish.
Igwheet August 15, 2012 at 07:26 PM
This is a great time to sell a home in district 15 because unlike ditrict 14 where taxes for a comparable sized home is literaly double, which is why houses there are sitting on the market unsold for years and years, property values in district 15 remain high and stable, and typically on the market for a matter of days before going into contract. Hmmm. Are school taxes so high because a couple of four year old Jewish kids are getting bussing, or because the cost of labor for public schools is absurdly overpriced, and the whole pension system is purposely stacked against taxpayers for eternity. If you don't know the answer, it's because you choose not to.
Igwheet August 15, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Harvey Weisenberg can explain this to you very easily. It's because Long Island fasmilies are rich and don't need the money, but because kids in New York City and upstater are not, the money we should be getting in school aid is diverted there, and we're getting taxed twice. He might even explain why all local school districts are getting close to a third of what Long Beach schools get in state aid. I'm sure he's got a great reason, and if he tells you, please let the rest of us know so we could understand why weisenberg sits around doing nothing while the rest of us are drowning in taxes. It's ironic, considering that the guy's a lifeguard.
M. Alvarez August 15, 2012 at 07:48 PM
I think the statute says at least 10% should go to non-public providers. But maye we should lobby the state to abolish that rule since it might actually convey some benefit on Jewish children.
Igwheet August 15, 2012 at 08:27 PM
If the Orthodox Jews weren't using the public schools how were they simultaneously using up all the community's resources?
Ortho mm August 16, 2012 at 05:36 AM
I know a good real estate broker
Ortho mm August 16, 2012 at 05:38 AM
Time to selll
J. Levine August 16, 2012 at 03:12 PM
As a parent of both public and private school students in District 15, I must write that I am extremely pleased with my children's academic, athletic, and social successes in public school. Also, as an educator with 20 year’s experience I can truthfully write that one of the greatest predictors of academic success in the future is preschool attendance. Though this attendance is not mandated by the government, it is necessary for children to obtain the pre-literacy and socials skills needed to learn the newly rigorous elementary curricula. Having busing available to these children makes attendance in Pre-Kindergarten easier for children of working parents.
Laurie August 16, 2012 at 05:08 PM
I highly doubt it, the parocial schools were never recognized as part of the public school District 15 and had to fend for themselves. Now that the Lawrence school district is well on its way to becoming the biggest Yeshiva in the area. The superintendent keeps saying it is at no extra cost to the district, but what was the grant money originally slated for because he stated that it was redirected, but from where. I feel very bad for the people who are in this district now. It use to be an award winning school district with an overall feeling of community. The current superintendent says they are a joined community, but if you are now of their "faith" they don't want to have anything to do with you or your kids.......
D Fusco August 16, 2012 at 07:17 PM
You're the best, Stephen! I know you can do it. :)
phil August 17, 2012 at 01:39 AM
While there is certainly a connection between the increase in Orthodox families and the decline in the average test scores of the students and other issues, it's not the fault of the new neighbors. No matter what the 'educational wizards' say, it's the education and affluence of the parents, not the amount of money spent on education that determines the academic success of the typical student. There are exceptions, but that's reality.When you replace these families with similar families, things stay the same. But when the new people are similar but have no kids or use private education, then things nose dive. The average test scores drop if the smartest, best tutored kids are gone. No amount of money can change that. This is not unique to Lawrence. Just go down the road a few miles to Malverne SD. A good number of the white families, from Malverne, send their kids to Catholic schools. The poorer black families in Lakeview send most of their kids to public school. Result, crappy test scores, etc. Unlike Orthodox Jewish families, who are unlikely to send their kids to public schools, no matter how good, I can assure you, as a Catholic myself, that very few Catholic families are so religious that they will send their kids to a Catholic school no matter what. Load up the schools with poor black kids and everyone finds religion. People look out for what they consider their own family's interests first. Always. Everywhere.That's the way it is.
Igwheet August 17, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Phil, your synopsis, analysis, description, and explanation of the whole District 15 public/private school battle is exceptionally logical, and well-stated. But, seriously, HOW DARE YOU inject logic, clarity, and fairness into this illogical, never-ending, manufactured conflict that scapegoats Orthodox Jews to mask the delicious irony of politically-correct people hamstrung by their ideological inability to express how much they resent having to share their precious public schools with black and hispanic kids. And you can be sure that Orthodox kids are the last thing these people want in their schools.
jason August 17, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Phal, All I can say is WOW. Your therapist will be ecstatic. Finally a break through! You don't like Orthodox Jews. We get it. It is all their fault that you can't afford the finer things in life. It is time to move on. In terms of assimilation, I was unaware that this is a requirment to live in America. I will double check the bill of rights, but I'm, pretty sure that assimilating is not in there.
jason August 17, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Actually is was about $250,000. That is what I have paid to educate your children. Must be hard to live in this community, see all of the schools and temples that were built knowing what a failure you are.
Ann Devenuto Romano August 17, 2012 at 08:22 PM
pre k students from number 4 school should have there own bus's. put the extra money back into school programs for the kids stop cutting from the lawrence school dristrict for other private schools.
Igwheet August 17, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Yeah, really, Phal. Why don't you tell us how you really feel.
jason August 17, 2012 at 08:39 PM
As an aside Phal Kong has been consistent with her orthdox jew baiting. When Pump it Up failed, it was the observant jews fault as well.
phil August 18, 2012 at 03:04 AM
I'm not in the mood for a long post right now, but to Phal: I have lived here for a half a century give or take. There have been Orthodox Jews in the Five Towns since my father was a kid, and almost every darn one of them is an American as I am from what I can tell. Jewish business fail every day also.There are Jew haters everywhere, as one of the 'goyim', believe me I know. I'm not looking the other way. I've lived in a Jewish community my whole life. Many Orthodox Jews stick to themselves, but many more gentiles are anti-semetic, and I find that non-observant and secular Jews hate the Orthodox more than anyone else does. Some sort of internal guilt struggle thing or something I suppose. To Jason: I don't get what you are babbling about with the taxes thing and the other weird comments. The majority of taxpayers in any school district don't have kids in school, To Igwheet: They should want Orthodox kids in their schools. For the sake of diversity and all ;-) And to bring up those average test scores. But it's so hard when you can't be seen blaming the usual minorities, and you certainly can't blame yourself if your kid is failing. So better to pick on the Jews. Every one else does.
richard libbey August 18, 2012 at 04:58 AM
Phil - You forgot to mention the love from the other side. Who is worried or happy to have modernity impact on their myths and then the fear of becoming secular, worldly being able to think for themselves or just not follow the orders of their so called leaders. I don't believe you when you use that term to define yourself, it is not a flattering term and is more likely used in a contemptuously matter. You just forgot to add the word "dumb". Which group considers their child dead if they don't follow the path? I am familiar with which groups acts upon their leaders' edits as sheep besides the loyal republican and democrats. What would be nice is if the US made it illegal for any american to have citizenship of another country. You can't have two loyalties. You might think you can but you are lying to yourself. Let us end the hyphened-american.
mark boat August 19, 2012 at 03:05 PM
Why isn't anyone talking about busing kids outside the district? This is not a mandated program so why are we helping schools outside the district increase their revenue?
Stephen J. Bronner August 21, 2012 at 07:03 PM
The RFP has been uploaded to this article. You can find it below the pictures.
Stephen J. Bronner August 21, 2012 at 07:09 PM
The RFP has been uploaded to this article. You can find it below the pictures.
D Fusco August 28, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Thank you!
Bojames November 07, 2012 at 12:18 PM
Time for a law suit and appeal to the State to investigate.
Bojames November 07, 2012 at 12:26 PM
Maybe it also time for non clergy residents , of all faiths , to ask their state reps to clean up the application of NYS Real property Law 460 "Clergy exemption". Over 50 such exemptions in Lawrence passing hundreds of thousands of school tax exempted dollars to other non clergy tax payers. what should be a $1500 exemption is inflated to MUCH more and you the non clergy pick up the tab write to clergyexemption@gmail for more information.

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