Board sets out-of-county tuition

Published 11:34 am Wednesday, July 5, 2017

An ongoing effort to approve an annual tuition fee for students who attend Lunenburg County Public Schools living outside the county was a partial catalyst for two closed sessions held by the county’s school board during its meeting Thursday.

During the meeting, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent James Abernathy said the board established tuition rates for out-of-county students in past years.

The tuition established for the 2018 school year is $2,383, which could be paid in advance either annually or by semester.

This new rate is $337 greater than the tuition rate for the previous school year, which was $2,046, Abernathy said.

Beaver Creek Representative Beverley Hawthorne said the $2,383 makes up the county’s allocation for the out-of-county students divided by the number of those students.

“That equals what the county gives us divided by the number of students. It’s the county match. Our taxpayers are not actually paying for any students that come across the line,” Hawthorne said.

Love’s Mill District Representative Elizabeth R. Williams asked if the tuition is collected by the division.

Division Superintendent Charles Berkley responded to Williams’ inquiry, saying that while the division receives some of the tuition, the impact of that tuition is important to the school board.

“If a student comes across here, we charge them too, but in actuality the student coming here is worth 10 to us,” Berkley said, adding that a partial allocation is still beneficial. “I’d much rather have that student come across the line, and collect (the amount) if we can … We’re still making more. We’re doing ourselves better. I’d rather get four-fifths more than one-fifth if possible.”

Enrolled students who live out of county do not receive public transportation to and from school, Berkley said.

Berkley, following the meeting, said the board approves a tuition fee for out-of-county students each year, and that the exact allocation has been an ongoing discussion.

He also said before the start of the school year, families of out-of-county students looking to enroll must write an application letter that must be approved.