The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, February 18, 2000


Minuteman officials propose legislation to increase revenue

As part of the overall plan to reposition Minuteman Regional High School for the 21

At the selectmen's meeting on February 8, Markham succinctly described the entire turn-around plan. First, the school is engaged in an aggressive campaign to recruit more in-district students with a more high-tech image. The campaign includes reaching out to students younger than eighth graders. Markham said that the school has seen a slight increase in numbers since the recruiting campaign began last year.

Second, the school has approached non-district communities which have traditionally sent a large number of students to Minuteman to ask if these communities would join the district, either as full or associate members. The Cambridge school board, said Markham, recently voted to become an associate member, which entitles the city to send a certain number of students at a pre- arranged price. A full member would also have voting rights. Because Minuteman recently voted to stop School Choice, these out-of-district students would not otherwise be allowed to attend. The Choice program allowed out-of-district students to attend at a cost of $5,000 per student, which was significantly lower than the $13,000 per student cost at the school and contributed significantly to the school's fiscal woes.

The third part of the plan is the proposed legislation which would allow out-of-district students to attend in ninth grade at the "Chapter 74 rate." This rate is a formula set by the state for regional vocational schools which, according to Markham, has always kept pace with the actual cost incurred by the school per student. Markham also noted that Chapter 74 is intended to be non-competitive in that Minuteman can only recruit out-of-district students for programs that are not offered in the student's own district vocational school.

With these plans in place, Markham is confident that Minuteman can flourish, but it will be a slow process. "Like turning the Queen Mary," he said. Over the short term, Markham said he would like to file the bill within the month, and he has been presenting his case to all the governing boards of the member communities for support. The Carlisle board of selectmen will vote on this issue at their February 22 meeting.

2000 The Carlisle Mosquito