Forty-nine percent of school board members are in favor of a proposal before the state Board of Regents that would prioritize children who are eligible for free- and reduced-price lunch for placement in pre-kindergarten programs, according to a New York State School Boards Association poll released today. Forty-three percent said they would oppose the measure and 8 percent were undecided.
The Board of Regents is preparing to vote on that proposal this week, as well as another that would direct more state funding for pre-kindergarten to low- and average-wealth school districts. The state Legislature would have to adopt both proposals for them to become law.
“Board members recognize that children living in lower wealth areas often have fewer options for early childhood programs,” Timothy Kremer, executive director of the association, said in a statement. “At the same time, if the universal pre-K program is truly going to be ‘universal,’ then all three- and four-year old children should have access to it.”
The poll also found:
— Fifty-two percent of school board members support moving from project-based reimbursement for construction projects to giving school districts a broader construction allowance each year, but on the condition that it would free up state aid for flexible operating funds. Twenty-six percent were not sure and 22 percent were against the idea.
— Nearly two-thirds of board members oppose a potential Board of Regents proposal to dock state aid from school districts recommended for mergers by the state that opt not to. Sixty-four percent of respondents were against the measure and 27 were in favor. Nine percent were unsure.
Results are based on email responses from 505 school board members in November and December.
This is a chart from the state Education Department: