Non-resident students bring boost

Published 10:42 am Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Out-of-county students have provided not only a boost to enrollment in Charlotte County Public Schools, but revenue from the state’s coffers as well.

According to Division Superintendent Dr. Nancy Leonard, the division currently has 169 out-of-county students in the county’s classrooms.

This year reflects a slight decrease in the numbers from the previous two years, 2015-16 being 176 students and 2014-15 being 181 students, she said.

Leonard said the county receives approximately $11,000-per-student enrolled in the division from the state. Using that figure, the schools receive an estimated $1.86 million based on out-of-county students alone in state money.

Leonard said the county has waived tuition fees for years now for students who don’t live in the county.

Lunenburg County Public Schools Superintendent Charles Berkley said he did not know of any students from outside the county attending the division’s schools.

“Two years ago we started out with several, but they ended up going back to their original county to finish out the year,” Berkley said.

According to Prince Edward County Public Schools Division Superintendent Dr. Barbara Johnson, the division currently has around 40 out-of-county students. The students provide the county more than $200,000 through state funds, which, according to Director of Accountability and Research Dr. Greg Wheeler, adds to the more than $10 million the county receives from the state for student enrollment overall.

“Currently, we have approximately 40-42 students who are out of Prince Edward County,” said Johnson. “Last year, the year before last, perhaps, not sure what the date was, the board decided not to charge out of county tuition for this year … It’s incentive for families outside in our surrounding counties and we’ve seem to have benefited on some levels because our enrollment is going up.”

Johnson said that it was possible the out-of-county incentive was part of the increased enrollment numbers, but she said she couldn’t pinpoint it.

Johnson’s comments came during the March 8 school board meeting where the board voted unanimously to continue the current policy where students are allowed to attend the county’s public schools for free unless they have special education needs.

The numbers in Prince Edward are similar to those in adjoining counties.

In Buckingham County, according to Division Superintendent Dr. Cecil Snead, for the current school year, there are 11 out-of-county students in public schools. Those 11 students are charged $500 in tuition per semester. Snead said the basic per pupil aid allocated to the locality from the state is $6,184 — a number that could increase by $26 in the upcoming fiscal year.

Overall, Buckingham receives $68,024 from the state and $5,500 from tuition for out-of-county students.

Snead said there are currently 1,494 students enrolled in system.

Cumberland County Public Schools Division Superintendent Dr. Amy Griffin said currently the county has 48 out-of-county students attending public schools. Of those 48, she said 25 were children of school staff.

“We can charge tuition (which is $2,200); however, the school board can waive the tuition,” Griffin said.

Currently no students pay tuition, Griffin said, estimating the county gets $7,226 per student.