Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School is located next door in Hadley with a new $10 million building expansion
Besides the half hearted threat from Shutesbury to create chaos with the funding mechanism for next year's Regional Budget by voting down the current assessment method, the other -- even more stunning -- thing to come out of the Four Towns meeting on Saturday was the negative impact Charter School competition will have on next year's budget.
FY2017 Charter Tuition projected increase is $493,650 as the number of Regional students attending Charter schools escalates by 10, going from the current 93 up to 103 at an average cost of around $20,000 each.
Last year total cost of Charter/Vocational/Choice students opting out of ARPS was $2.6 million; this coming year it is projected to increase to $3.1 million.
Kathy Mazur, Sean Mangano, Maria Geryk at Four Towns meeting
The anticipated budget gap for a level services budget next year is $460,000 which is way better than the $900,000 gap we were looking at last year around this same time.
But that entire amount could be covered if we were not losing an additional $493,650 in Charter School payouts.
Superintendent Maria Geryk freely admitted to the Four Towns meeting that "Charter Schools are the driving force for our our budget going up." And, she added ominously, "The Charter cap statewide may be lifted. If so, we will suffer."
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Budget projected to increase 3.4%. Amherst Finance Committee recommendation to town departments is max of 2.5%