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Board considers tuition rates

Journal Opinion of Bradford, Vermont

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NORTH HAVERHILL—The Haverhill Cooperative School Board considered the tuition rates for towns sending students to Haverhill and looked at next year's school calendar which built in more time off before Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Interim SAU-23 Superintendent Don LaPlante said he arrived at the new proposed tuition rate for 2015-2016 by taking the current rate and adding the consumer price index of 1.3 percent rounded up to 1.5 percent. LaPlante acknowledged that it wasn't a scientific method, but it got the process started.

The numbers presented to the board by LaPlante were as follows: current high school tuition $ 14,950 up to $ 15,174, for middle school up from $13,950 to $14,159, elementary and kindergarten from $13,650 to $13,855.

The board decided it wanted to see actual costs before determining the new rates.

LaPlante told the board tuition students are often considered "gravy money" because the school district has fixed building and staff costs that need to be paid regardless and the tuition students just offset those costs.

"You want to get as close to the true, real costs as you can," LaPlante commented, but added it's not as critical as determining the cost per pupil figuring.

The board will take up the issue again in the future.

LaPlante also presented a proposed school year calendar that gives students and faculty the entire day offbefore Thanksgiving and two days before Christmas.

To achieve that, LaPlante proposes to have the school year start on Aug. 26 with the anticipated last day of school being June 15. He said he had to adjust some aspects of the calendar and wanted to make sure the building principals and other administrators are good with the concept before asking the school board to formally approve the calendar.

The school board seemed to be generally receptive to the concept but wanted to make sure the teacher in service days were incorporated and the students received the required 180 days of instruction. LaPlante said he would doublecheck but he was certain all the requirements had been made.

The talk of the school calendar touched off discussion about setting the date for the graduation this year. School board member Maryanne Aldrich said she had been approached by several students wondering when the date will be.

LaPlante said the date can be set anytime. In fact he said he was surprised to see the school calendar said the graduation date was to be determined.

"That's crazy if you ask me," LaPlante said. "You can have graduation anytime as long as you set time aside to celebrate it."

LaPlante said he knows of some school districts that set graduation as much as two weeks from the proposed end of school to have the date set without the chance of conflict from snow days and other interferences.

Regarding this year Aldrich said she would like to see it held on June 13 if possible. LaPlante said he would review it with the administrators and get back to the board.

Ed Ballam may be contacted at

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Original Publication Date: January 14, 2015

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