County schools ponder out-of-district tuition

Published 6:00 am Monday, February 18, 2002

BOGUE CHITTO — As public education faces major budget cuts thisyear, education officials and school board members are searchingfor ways to save money.

During their semi-monthly meeting Friday, the Lincoln CountySchool Board and Superintendent of Education Perry Miller debatedwhether the school district should begin charging tuition forout-of-district students who transfer into the district.

A decision on the matter is not expected until April, but schoolboard members approached the subject after learning aboutsignificant budget cuts proposed for at least the next twoyears.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“We have 250 out-of-district students, with only about 25 ofthose being employees’ children… and we are paying around $890per kid to educate our children,” Miller explained. “We receive nofunds for these children except a small amount of statefunding.”

A tuition fee for those students would help the district pay fortheir education in the Lincoln County School District, headded.

While considering the proposal, board vice president Jerry Coonpointed out that placing a fee on out-of-district students couldhave an adverse affect by causing students to return to theircorrect school district.

“If that happened, we’d lose state funding for those studentsand reduce personnel as necessary,” Miller stated, explaining howit would not actually hurt the Lincoln County School District.

Board members milled over the idea for a few more minutes beforedeciding to table it until they had an opportunity to look at otheroptions.

Unemployment compensation was another matter that caught theattention of board members while they closely studied a report onthe revenues and expenditures of the district during the lastyear.

They were concerned about the amount of money being paid toformer employees who left the district, sought work elsewhere, thenrequested compensation after losing their job within less than 13weeks.

“Because we are a matching employer, no matter why they areterminated, whether they are fired for just cause or quit, if theygo to work somewhere else and get laid off there, then we get drawnback into the pool,” explained Cheryl Shelby, the district’sbusiness manager.

Board members wondered if that was the least expensive way tohandle those types of situations.

“In the long run, we’re better off being a matching employer,”Shelby said. “If we pay the 2 percent unemployment tax, we would bepaying out much more.”

The board agreed that the current method was the best because ofthe number of employees in the district.

Board members closed the meeting and followed with lunch and atour of Bogue Chitto Attendance Center and Eva Harris AlternativeSchool as the last of their annual school tours.

The next board meeting will be held in the central office at5:30 p.m., March 4.