Rumorville: Mamaroneck Pre-K to be Cut?

27 Jan, 2012

By Diana Marszalek



The Mamaroneck School District’s prekindergarten program, which serves primarily low-income and special needs kids, and is housed at Mamaroneck Avenue Elementary School, may be on the chopping block, parents fear.


(one comment below reads, ““When I spoke with superintendent Shaps office this afternoon, I was actually surprised by how candid they were in admitting that they were considering such significant changes to the program that it merited stopping the application process indefinitely.”)


As a Mamaroneck resident wrote us in an email:


It seems that the Mamaroneck School District is considering cancelling its Pre-K program for next school year.


For the past few months, the district website announced that Pre-K applications would be available beginning on Jan. 23. This week, all mention of the Pre-K application process has been removed from the site, and parents who called the Mamaroneck Avenue School are being told that the program is being reevaluated in light of the budget and applications are not being sent out.


The District’s Pre-K program was created in 1965 to serve children unable to attend tuition-based nursery schools. Programs for kids with special needs were added 10 years later.


A district spokeswoman did not give a direct answer when asked whether the program’s future is in limbo.


“There have been no decisions to change the program,” the spokeswoman, Debbie Manetta says.  “The applications are not being posted yet – we will let the community know when they are available,” despite the earlier announcement they were to have been available starting last Monday.


“Each year, every single budget item is brought to the table and looked at carefully by the district, the board and community members,” she says. “Decisions have not been made at this point to make changes to any program, including Pre-K.”
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  • http://theloopny.com Diana Marszalek

    Loop reader Ann Goode sent us this about her experience:

    “When I spoke with superintendent Shaps office this afternoon, I was actually surprised by how candid they were in admitting that they were considering such significant changes to the program that it merited stopping the application process indefinitely.

    I called the Superintendent’s office yesterday morning to get some information, and the representative said she had not heard anything about changes to the Pre-K program, and suggested that I call the Mamaroneck Avenue School. When I explained that MAS had told me that the superintendent had stopped the application process and was reevaluating the program, she said she would look into it and get back to me.

    She returned my call early yesterday afternoon, and told me that she had spoken with the superintendent, and that the future of the universal Pre-K program was uncertain. She said that applications would not be distributed until they were certain that Pre-K would be offered next year, and they were not certain that it would.

    When I questioned her, she informed me that the superintendent and 2 assistant superintendents (curriculum and pupil personnel) would be looking at the program in light of the budget situation, and making a recommendation to the school board sometime in the future.

    I next contacted the co-president of the MAS PTA and asked her what she knew about the situation. She explained that the PTA had not been officially notified of the suspension of applications, but had been told by parents who were seeking to apply to the program that applications were not being distributed.

    The elimination of universal Pre-K is a drastic move, especially in a diverse district like ours. It impacts not only those students who attend the program, but their future classmates, and the success of the district as a whole. If the school district is considering such a move, it should be done in full public view.

  • Charlene Abney

    While the UPK program is a wonderful program, it should be made clear this is a program available to ALL district residents REGARDLESS of income. When the MASPre-K was an “Experimental Pre-K” it was for low-income and special needs children only.

  • Anonymous

    “Much education today is monumentally ineffective. All too often we are giving young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants.” – John W. Gardner

    Education is not properly measured by student grades. In conjunction with other Districts we must quickly address the issues of how to educate all effectively, rather than continuing to try to school for the past while building larger school budgets instead of bridges to the future.

  • kashi

    Wonderful news IMHO. Children with need, whether low income or special ed are taken care of by ny state. MAS pre-k in particular doesnt matter as long as the needs of the children are met even if they are bussed to class. and ffrom experience, the only negative aspect of this school district is its pre k program. The parents who donate funds or at the least participate in all of the fundraising efforts and attend every meeting faithfully are rewarded and respected. everyone else is subject to the extremely discriminatory eye of those in charge of the program. its a well known secret in this district…go to meetings and be an all out participant or endure the wrath and consequence. we are well rid of thisprogram and the bullies who run it.

  • Julie

    I’m always amazed how people hide behind their computers and post inflamatory and negative comments. Kashi is an obvious ‘screen’ name for someone with a vengeance.

    Mamaroneck Ave. pre-school has proved to be a spring board for our diverse community. If it wasn’t for this program, the children ‘in need’ would be at a distinct disadvantage. The care and education the pre-k children get with this program is immeasurable. While all of the pre-k children are not classified as ‘special needs’, most do have needs that are special. We are benefactors of this program and I believe my children wouldn’t be where they are right now without it.
    It would be a terrible disservice to our community to eliminate this program. I hope and pray this does not happen.

  • kashi

    Julie, all comments, whether negative or positive, are posted with obvious “screen names”. welcome to the internet! I post positive when i have had positive experience and post negative for poor experience. I think its always best to hear all sides, know all sides, keep an open mind as to alternative solutions. I would not call this “vengeance”. For sure, MAS has been great for some (most especially for benefactors such as yourself). For others, it was not. I say others plural because I am sorry to say tht Mine was not an isolated bad experience but rather somewhat of a trend.

  • Melissa

    I agree. Getting rid universal Pre-K could be consider short-sighted, especially when early education lays the foundation for later learning development. And early intervention of any developmental delays can minimize future problems – improving outcomes for the child and lowering school costs in the long run. I hope the district is exploring all options for keeping the program open and will have an open dialogue with parents and the community about those options.

  • Informed

    Check the MUFSD website folks. A message was posted over the weekend that no changes are being made to MAS Pre-K, and, given that this the proverbial 3rd rail of local politics, I doubt anything will ever change. Apparently the “rumor-ville” title was appropriate…

  • http://theloopny.com editor

    thanks, informed.
    the issue was that it was posted on the District website, then it was taken down, then the Sup’t said it was being evaluated. So we are glad to hear that it’s back.