The grim budget news for Amherst Regional Public Schools just got a whole lot grimmer with the surprising -- to me anyway -- news that Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Chester is recommending the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School be allowed to expand, at but only at the high school level.
PVCIC was founded in 2007, and briefly did business in South Amherst. The charter school has already absorbed 52 Amherst elementary students, up from 35 in 2010, out of their current total enrollment of 280.
The Chinese Charter school petitioned the state to allow them to more than double in enrollment to 684: 240 High School students and 444 elementary. Commissioner Chester is approving the expansion to High School which will increase enrollment by 284 students to a total of 584.
Charter schools have a financial incentive to raid the public schools in the area with a higher funding, like Amherst, because they receives from the state the per student average cost of the sending district.
Thus it is far more lucrative to acquire a student from Amherst elementary system at $17,116 in profit than, say, Hadley at only $9,770, which is well below the state average of $13,361.
And now that PVCIC will also expand fully to a High School, how many of the 1,533 Amherst Regional High School students will they
Ironically the current Chinese charter school leadership, founders Principal Kathy Wang and Executive Director Rich Alcorn (who are married), originally offered the language program lock, stock and barrel to the Amherst public schools, but they were turned down.