School board member wants to stop paying for pre-k programs - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

School board member wants to stop paying for pre-k programs

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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - One New Hanover County School board member is recommending that the district stop funding pre-k programs.

"It's money that can be better spent," said board member Tammy Covil, who is citing a recent study from the federal government on the impact of Head Start.

The Head Start Impact Study released by the Department of Health and Human Services in December.

Covil sent an email to her fellow board members highlighting the study, which she said shows Head Start may not have lasting benefits.

The study's findings stated "by the end of 3rd grade there were very few impacts found for either cohort or in any of the four domains of cognitive, social-emotional, health and parenting practices."

The federal government runs Head Start.

Covil believes if a government report shows the program doesn't have a long-term benefit, it's likely pre-k programs don't either.

"When we are talking about meeting the needs of at risk students, it doesn't seem beneficial to me to put that money at the pre-k level because you don't get a lot out of a pre-kindergartener," she said. "But we could put the money in middle and high school where those at risk youth tend to drop out of school."

She thinks the district should remove "funding for a strong pre-k program" from the district's legislative priority list.

"If it's not going to benefit them in the long run and they're still at risk of dropping out then I don't see what it would benefit us to continue that program," she said.

Covil said the idea is being debated among board members – some agree with her, others feel strongly about funding pre-k programs.

We're waiting to hear back from New Hanover County Schools on how much is spent on pre-k programs in the district.

Only a limited number of kids can use the pre-k program; many come from families below the poverty line.

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