For the Newton-Kingston Taxpayers;
Here is a link to a survey that that needs your input because it will impact decision-making about
– faciltiies usage,
– educational efficiencies and
– our tax spending in the face of our declining enrollments
In a recent School Board meeting, the Superintendent stated that right now there is a lot to be defined, about net costs, logistics, and educational impact.
He noted that the Administration has identified that the annual cost to keep the current Middle School open is about $535,000. Jim Baker, Newton representative, summarized that the $535K is an annual expense, amounting to $5 Million over 10 years, while the currently unknown cost to make needed changes to the High School will be a one-time item.
All were unanimously in agreement that retaining a safe Middle School experience for the children in whichever school they are in is a paramount concern.
The other survey option, the configuration of the elementary schools, has generated concerns over bus times for young children and about the neighborhood school experience. There are potential social, educational and monetary advantages to merging the elementary schools, such as having children from both towns share the elementary school experience, creating more efficiency in early literacy and math education, and in cost savings by right-sizing classrooms, and sharing special teachers for gym, computer, art and music.
NKTA did a study of our costs per student, compared with other comparably sized districts. NKTA does this study for comparable K-12 Districts, and added comparably sized High, Middle and Elementary Schools last year. You can find the studies at http://www.NKTA.vpweb.com/studies-and-links. The results are that the District cost per pupil for the High and Middle Schools is about average, yet we underpay our teachers. The extraordinarily low student/teacher ratio is the main reason for this. SRSD pays our teachers less than average to teach smaller than average classes.
Elementary is another story…SRSD cost per pupil exceeds comparably sized schools by $1500 per student. If this is something the public wants, then the current configuration is what they will pay for. If they want more fiscal efficiency, for lower costs and more resources to apply to needed supplies and teaching staff and salaries, a reconfiguration will save an estimated $1Million each year.