Friday, October 15, 2010
CSC looks at fee impact on participation in school services
Few parents are deterred by the fee required for students to attend full-day kindergarten at the Carlisle School. On the other hand, 30% of seventh and eighth graders families opt not to use the school bus, which requires a fee during students last two years at the Carlisle School. Business Manager Susan Pray shared participation data under both the full-day kindergarten and the school bus fees when she spoke to the Carlisle School Committee (CSC) on October 5. (See Tables 1 and 2.)
This year, 98% of the kindergarten students are attending the full-day program, as opposed to a free half-day-only program. Kindergarten classes are held every day, with Tuesdays and Thursday as half days. Students who attend the three full days (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) pay an $800 fee.
By law, all schools in Massachusetts must offer 425 hours of free kindergarten, which is approximately five half days. The school charged $80 for two afternoons in 2000 after a two-year grant-funded pilot program proved successful. In the years since, the fee has trended upward: to $350 in 2003, $500 in 2004, $760 in 2008 and to $800 in the fall of 2009. There was no increase this fall.
Pray also presented the seventh and eighth grade bus fee participation (see Table 2). The school is not required by law to offer free busing to students in seventh and eighth grade. Students who take the bus pay a fee of $395. The school began bus fees in 2000, charging $50 for each student living within two miles of the campus. By 2002 the fee was increased to $350 but was imposed on just seventh and eighth graders. In 2003 the fee was raised to $395, where it has remained. A second family member in seventh or eighth grade pays half the fee. Each year there are also typically under five students who are granted free or reduced bus fees.
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