Frontier school budget increases 3.37%

  • Frontier Regional School's 11-member committee during a meeting Wednesday, March 22, 2017, in the North Main Street school building. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo Recorder Staff—Andy Castillo

  • Frontier Regional School, as seen Wednesday, March 22, 2017. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo Recorder Staff—Andy Castillo

For the Bulletin
Saturday, April 01, 2017

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Frontier Regional School’s 11-member committee unanimously voted March 22 to approve a $10,716,945 budget for the upcoming year.

Of that, $7,581,824 will be split between Union 38 district towns, a 3.79 percent increase from the current year. Conway is projected to fund $1,275,043, up 9.33 percent from this year; Deerfield, $3,645,579, a 3.32 percent increase; Sunderland increased 1.47 percent at $1,731,437; and Whately is up 2.13 percent, $928,783.

The remaining budget will be funded through $2,815,735 from Chapter 70 funds; $157,050 of excess and deficiency funds; $107,677 from regional transportation; and $54,641 from revolving transportation. Overall, the budget increased $311,859 from this year, or 3.37 percent.

During a public hearing before the vote, lively conversation centered on the cost differences between educating in the schools and sending students out of the district.

“I’m continually stunned at the funding formula, which is so unfair. We have 40 students leaving for School Choice, $231,975. And the 42 students leaving to charter schools costs us $777,640,” said committee member Keith McFarland of Sunderland. School Choice is $5,000 per student, sending students to other districts, or taking them in.

Comparatively, Union 38 business services director Patti A. Cavanaugh said, it costs $681,800 for 40 students to attend Frontier Regional. Tuition is $17,045 per student in-district.

Balancing those leaving for choice and charter school options, Frontier has 137 students choicing into the school.

“So many parents who decide on the charter option are unaware of the social cost to the town,” said Philip Kantor, a member of the School Commitee’s budget subcommittee. “They don’t know that it takes four students coming in to make up the cost of one of those students leaving.”

In light of those numbers, Conway Finance Committee Chairman Paul Antaya encouraged school officials to market the school’s programs to parents.

Kantor noted that more Frontier students than those from Deerfield Academy went to Ivy League schools this year. He said, “You can do a search in Google, SAT scores by district in Franklin County — ours are the best. They’re better than the charter schools. We’re way above Greenfield, we’re way above Mohawk.”

Looking ahead and addressing budgetary concerns, Carey warned of the proposed federal budget, “which cuts $9.2 billion out of public schools, and is diverting $266 million to charter schools — the current administration is all about privatizing education.”