Windham sets vote to sell school, tuition students

This article by Susan Smallheer originally appeared Oct. 23 in the Brattleboro Reformer.

WINDHAM — Voters in Windham will be asked next month if they want to close the Windham School if the state Board of Education follows through on threats to force the tiny school into a merger with other West River valley schools.

A special school district meeting will be held Nov. 26; an informational meeting on the Act 46 controversy will be held on Monday, Oct. 29, at 7 p.m. at the school.

Wikimedia Commons/Jared and Corin

Windham, Vermont Elementary School

“It’s important for people to understand the intricacies,” said Carolyn Partridge, chairwoman of the Windham School Board.

Partridge, who is also a state representative, said the board had originally hoped to have a townwide vote on election day, Nov. 6, but because of incorrect information from the Vermont Secretary of State’s office, the proper warning of a special vote wasn’t followed, putting a timely vote in danger.

Under the potential plan, Windham students would be tuitioned to area schools, at a cost of about $15,500 per pupil, the statewide tuition figure.

Read full article at the Brattleboro Reformer.

(Fair use with written permission from the New England Newspapers Inc.)

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Jared and Corin

One thought on “Windham sets vote to sell school, tuition students

  1. Consider a Pro Forma business plan:

    Vermont’s current Announced Average Tuition (vouchers provided to parents in Education Choice districts) are $13,496 and $15,130 per student for elementary school and grades 7-12 respectively. The Windham district also has the option to ‘designate’ an elementary and high school (public or independent), in which case the tuition voucher may be higher.

    If, for example, Windham reopens its elementary school as an independent institution, the district can pay at least the $13,496 tuition voucher for each of its 17 students. That’s $229,432 in annual revenue. The school would have to be a multi-aged program with one teacher and an assistant teacher (a para-educator). With an average salary of $50,000 (let’s say $60K and $40K respectively), total annual payroll costs (retirement and insurances) would be about $175,000. Parents will be expected to volunteer, grants will be available to supplement revenues, leaving about $59,000 annually (about $5,000 per month) to pay utilities, maintain the building and grounds, buy textbooks, computers and supplies. And Windham’s statewide education property tax should decline by at least 25% – unless, of course, the State changes its formula to require Windham to use some of its savings to pay for the inefficiencies of other consolidated districts.

    And Special Education costs are a separate consideration with a separate funding mechanism, including significant Federal grants and State reimbursements.

    It’s doable and Windham’s children and their families will likely thrive.

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