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Magnet School Tuition Among Biggest Budget Challenges

Tuition for local students attending magnet schools is expected to jump considerably in the coming fiscal year.

While many residents are concerned with the funding and quality of educational opportunities in Windsor Public Schools this budget season, the largest percentage increase with respect to funding can be accounted for under the magnet school tuition line item in the superintendent's proposed budget.

Magnet school tuition is identified as one of the significant challenges faced in the creation of Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Villar's proposal, which includes an overall funding increase of 2.5 percent for the district.

Magnet School tuition, however, is expected to jump to as high as $1.21 million in fiscal year 2014 — an increase of 21.5 percent over the current fiscal year.

According to district documents, 472 students in town attend area magnet schools, which was an increase of 449 in 2011. That number is expected to jump again.

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Over the past year, Windsor saw students attend a number of new schools established in the region and saw more students choose what have become he traditional magnet schools.

The Capitol Region Education Council's (CREC) Metropolitan Learning Center has the largest number of Windsor students, with 153 attending this year. That number of students accounts for $535,500 in tuition costs, according to district documents.

There are 18 CREC Schools serving Windsor residents, which accounts for just over $1 million in the current budget.

There are 15 Hartford magnet schools currently serving Windsor residents. Windsor Public Schools are not financially responsible for tuition costs at those schools.

Since 2008, local enrollment in magnet schools has increased 33 percent. Tuition costs have risen 184.4 percent.

Henry G January 29, 2013 at 06:05 PM
It seems to me, if we are failing in our public schools to educate our children, then creating a magnet school system to further drain our overtaxed citizens, is not the answer. That being said, and the fact that the magnet schools are here to stay, don't tell us - the taxpayers - that we have a responsibility to provide an environment which should be educating our students properly. We thought we were doing that already!
Malvi Lennon January 29, 2013 at 08:26 PM
If the local school fails in its obligation to educate all students the parents should the able to choose the school that they want their child to attend. The money should follow the student to the school of the parent's choice. Of course, what about the kids left behind? Well every child would have an opportunity to leave the failed school. The ones left behind because the parents did not care enough to send them somewhere else will be few, so you downsize to fit the student population left behind. My home lost over $50K in equity because of the real state crash. Therefore, I am paying a mortgage on a piece of property that I will be lucky to break even sometime in the future. If taxes in this town this state continue increasing I am better off walking away and to hell with all else. I have to live within my means. The schools, and the town, the state must learn to live within their means. The people withstanding the worst of the burden cannot pay more. It is time school; town and other elected officials on both sides of the aisle decide if they want to hold on to the productive or continue to enable the rest.
Windsor School Graduate January 29, 2013 at 10:36 PM
Malvi - As always I agree with you. Unfortunately, our society has become takers instead of providers. It's apparent they prefer to let everyone else bare the burden of their incompetence, lazyness, or ignorance. People today, not all, but a good majority of them have no pride. What happened?? I was brought up to be proud of my hard work - it certainly didn't kill me. Everyone has their hands out for more money!! The Feds, the state, the town and schools!!! Stop spending money you don't have??? This has been going on for so long - when will it end?
Catherine & Dennis January 29, 2013 at 11:47 PM
Malvi I agree with you 100%. We lost on our property value first with the issues with real estate then a larger amount due to Dollar Tree being built right in my front yard with no buffer or screening. We were told business needs to come to Town to help ease the tax burden yet the State pays them (our money) to come here, the landowner (Griffin) gets to roll over their $7million profit and not pay a dime, another business is seeking our money for sidewalks for their employees to walk on and our residents to shovel and become responsible for with any slip and falls, we will pay more for needed police services, fire, ambulance and students run from one failing school we pay for to another we pay for. When will people wake up? The tax payer well is dry. Catherine
Windsor School Graduate January 30, 2013 at 12:15 AM
I posted something similar not long ago. You never hear any comments from these people who complained at the BOE meeting? Why??? Or, is it not as bad as they say?? It's always, always the same people...... Where are all of the parents of these kids who aren't getting a "good" education in our town? Why aren't they standing up and screaming on these posts - if it's that bad for their kids. Where are all of you (including teachers). Mr. Lockhart, I give you credit for at least taking a stand, whether I like it or not. Where are the others?
Catherine & Dennis January 30, 2013 at 12:26 AM
Here is another thought...if the Magnet schools that we pay for are so much better and people are flocking to them from the other schools we are paying for that are failing...then why aren't the failng schools talking to the much better magnet schools and we then have no need to pay Dr James?
Windsor School Graduate January 30, 2013 at 01:08 AM
Better yet, make Windsor High a charter or Magnet school. Ms. Richardson should know something about that as her daughter went to a CREC school??????? If her daughter is good enough why not the rest?
Julian McKinley (Editor) January 30, 2013 at 03:56 AM
You all bring up some interesting points, including Mr. Lockhart — the responsibility to provide quality educational opportunities for our youth is undeniable; moreover, it's among our inalienable rights, I believe. However, in recent years, a trend has been established by the increasing number of parents who seek affordable alternative educational opportunities for their children, and that's made me think to the future and wonder about the answer to a particular question: Are we headed toward a day when our traditional public schools become obsolete and CREC and other magnet schools become the norm, with local students dispersed among many separate, smaller academic communities? What do you all think?
Albert Williams January 30, 2013 at 02:54 PM
Should taxpayers HAVE to pay for BOTH? Julian, can you also see a day when Charter and Magnets have taken over and they end up in the same situation as public schools are in today?
Malvi Lennon January 30, 2013 at 03:11 PM
The present system at least here in Windsor is fleecing the taxpayers, but what is worse, it is failing the children. We are not the first district to face this dilemma and unfortunately, we will not be the last. The quickest and most economical way to fix the problem is to institute school choice. Let the parents decide, and if others jobs are at risk allow them to show their so-called leaders how to right their sinking ship. Teachers (the majority) are not the problem. The State of BOE and a top-heavy local administrative system is. Stop the social experiments and start teaching kids how to read, write and do simple arithmetic.

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