RYE BROOK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Would you pay $20,000 to send your child to a public school?
As WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported, one excelling school district in Westchester County is advancing a bet that some parents will, and parents reportedly have been expressing interest.
Faced with falling enrollment, the district is offering school slots to students from outside the district, charging more than $19,569 per year for grades K-6 and $21,500 per year for 7-12, although it only costs the school $400-$500 per year to put an outsider at an empty desk, CBS 2 reported late last month.
Blind Brook-Rye School Board President Glen Schuster described the plan as thinking outside the box.
“A well-run school district like Blind Brook-Rye can compete with the private schools,” he said.
He said by charging the tuition for some students, the public school district can add revenue as it battles the financial constraints of a 2 percent cap in tax increases.
“This will save jobs and save talent in a district that has some strong educators, and that’s very important to us,” Schuster said.
The district has said mailings to nearby towns, and while not providing a specific number, said parents have been calling and taking tours.
Other high-end districts like Bronxville, Mamaroneck, and Edgemont allow students to “tuition-in” but this one is the first to actively seek applicants.
The district is marketing the schools by direct mail in a 15-mile radius around the town. Consider that Greenwich, Conn., is just a stone’s throw away, it’s a sure bet that come fall some of the students arriving in Rye Brook will be from out of state.
Tuition rates are set by the state using a complex formula. Rye Brook said it hopes to fill 24 slots with outsiders next year — a take of roughly $500,000.
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