Public Comment Raises Talk About Tuition Reimbursements

by Alex Mulm

During the April 20 School Board meeting a member of the community Christine Perez spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting about concerns she has about the tuition rate for students that come from other school districts specifically Hooksett.

She explained that she did research and found that compared to other school districts that bring in students from Hooksett, which doesn’t have its own high school they charge significantly less than the other schools.

Perez said that Pinkerton which bring in 438 students from Hooksett charges $13,200, Bow which brings in a maximum of four per year charges $15,470, Goffstown who takes a couple of students per year charges $14,500, and Pembroke who currently has 21 students from Hooksett charges $13,165.

She said that Londonderry charges $12,000 per student from Hooksett and has 117 high school students currently from there.

Perez said that through the memorandum of understanding with Hooksett the District would pay up to $12,250 per student going to another District and the families would be responsible for the rest.

One notable concern that she had was the fact that the current cost per student at the high school is $16,480 and if they are charging less than that then they are spending extra money for students outside of the District which she said was a burden on the taxpayers in town.
She made the argument that they should be charging close to the amount that it costs per student per year or closer to the amount that other District’s charge.

“I can’t figure out any reason why we would be doing this,” she said about their current price that they charge Hooksett.

After making her case Business Administrator Peter Curro said that she didn’t have the facts straight.

“You couldn’t be more wrong,” Curro said. “I thought we went through this at the Deliberative Session.”

He pointed out that she brought up those concerns during the session and told her if she has any comments or concerns she could talk to him or Office Assistant Lisa Muse but never contacted them.

Curro explained that during the session he explained that by bringing in Hooksett students it adds extremely little cost to the District and brings in a net of about one million dollars or more that helps to offset the tax rate for taxpayers in town.
He said that when it comes to the cost per student there are factors that go into it like special education students that makes the cost per student on average go up. For Hooksett students that they bring in they are not special education students, and said that they would require additional money from Hooksett in order to enroll at Londonderry.
He said that there are also many costs that go into the school that wouldn’t be affected by the number of students they have in the school including lights, heat, administration and other things.

“There are fixed costs to the high school regardless if there’s one kid in the high school or 1,200 kids in the high school,” he said.

Perez again brought up why they don’t charge more money per student from Hooksett.
He said that they may be able to charge a little more but there is also the possibility of those students going somewhere else then. He said that if they lose revenue then they would have to make it up somehow.

“We are bringing them in so the taxpayer pays a million dollars less in overall cost to run the school district,” Curro said.

Currently the school district receives a total of 1.4 million dollars from Hooksett based on the number of students they have enrolled in Londonderry.

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