Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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School board votes 6-1 to raise yearly tuition for out-of-county students

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Alamance-Burlington school board members have voted 6-1 to increase the school system’s tuition rates for students who live outside Alamance County but attend ABSS schools.

ABSS chief finance officer Kim McVey told school board members during their latest meeting that a school system policy requires the out-of-county tuition rate to be reviewed annually, prior to the start of each new school year, but the rate hadn’t been reviewed in years. There are currently about a dozen students who live outside the county but are enrolled in ABSS schools, the finance officer told the board.

Chief ABSS finance officer Kim McVey

Voting to increase the out-of-county tuition rate for ABSS were: school board chairman Sandy Ellington-Graves; vice chairman Ryan Bowden; and school board members Dan Ingle, Chuck Marsh, Charles Parker, and Donna Westbrooks.

“Why would we allow an out-of-county transfer to come in when we’re not allowing [ABSS students] to transfer? Our guidelines have changes . . . I don’t care for transfers at all because that is what [got] us into the predicament we’re in now.” – School board member Patsy Simpson

School board member Patsy Simpson cast the lone opposing vote, saying, “Why would we allow an out-of-county transfer to come in when we’re not allowing [ABSS students] to transfer? Our guidelines have changes…I don’t care for transfers at all because that is what [got] us into the predicament we’re in now.”

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School board attorney Adam Mitchell of the Tharrington-Smith law firm in Raleigh clarified the scope of the policy during last week’s discussion, saying, “It’s really discretionary admissions, as opposed to transfers.”

School board members voted 7-0 in December 2022 to approve a revised student assignment policy that effectively eliminated a spring “transfer application” period that had been in place for years. The board approved the revised policy in anticipation of opening the new high school, Southeast, this August, though the changes will apply to all ABSS schools.

Annual out-of-county tuition rates for ABSS will increase by $163 per year from the current rate of $1,885 per student to $2,048 per student. A state law requires the rate to be calculated by dividing the school system’s total enrollment (22,847 students) by the county’s appropriation for current expenses ($46,812,319 for the 2022-23 fiscal year), McVey told the board last week.

The new out-of-county tuition rate for ABSS will take effect with the upcoming 2023-24 school year.

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