Thornton: Per-pupil spending on charter students far outpaces Cumberland district increases

Thornton: Per-pupil spending on charter students far outpaces Cumberland district increases

CUMBERLAND - School Committee members, making the point that new tax dollars never reach the classroom but are instead consumed annually by rising non-instructional expenses, are highlighting in particular rising tuition payments for the Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy.

At $1,289 more per student, next year's bill is budgeted at $2.4 million, enough to prompt Cumberland school officials to repeat the point often that they're funding two school systems now.

Particularly galling, they say, is that just $83 a year more is going to each Cumberland student under the new $900,000 increase, while state law mandates the additional $1,289 per charter student, or an added $516,000 next year.

The total line item for all charter school tuitions is $2.89 million.

Had the full $1.54 million requested gone to the school account, the amount per student would have been $224, says Supt. Philip Thornton.

BEP compliance funding at $4.34 million would have yielded $833 per Cumberland student, he said, still $450 less than the charter student's increase.

Thornton also did a little math for the Town Council members to tackle head-on the argument that Cumberland can close classrooms and save money as students move into the charter schools.

Countering that claim, Thornton said currently, 286 Cumberland students are in charter schools, grades kindergarten to 8, costing Cumberland $2.06 million in tuition this year.

If those students were returned to the Cumberland district, he said, two more elementary and two more middle school teachers would be needed along with supplies, more buses and purchased services for a total cost of $400,000.

Cumberland would save some $1.66 million, he said.

Comments

When we keep hearing talk about consolidating services of Towns, but the creation of BVP does the opposite. The Blackstone Valley Prep, championed by Dan Mc Kee and Joe Almond creates another School System. This is a massive increase in spending.

Under the new School Funding Formual they say the money follows the child. Well the money is following the child right into the doors of Blackstone Valley Prep and the fixed costs and overhead remain behind.

Mayor Mc Kee and Administrator Almond claim their schools are getting increased funding, but they fail to subtract the money taken away from their School Systems.

We the taxpayers have no say on it.