Re: DSM: Thoughts on Tuition Structure

Date: Sat Nov 17 2001 - 14:24:11 EST

    I'm not quite sure how up to date I am on tuition matters but I'll take a
stab at this issue which I first heard about at the Assembly meeting last
year anyhow. Several things I intend to touch on have not been addressed on
DSM, but were raised at the Assembly meeting.
    I do know tuition was raised more than usual this year, but I thought
this was, in part, contributed to by rising living expenses and health
insurance, or something along those lines. There is also the matter or losing
money on families who pay full for the first child, 3/4 for the second, and
1/2 tuition for each child after that.
    If it hurts the school for scaled tuition for multiple children, maybe
tuition should be raised for them. However, families should be able to have
some sort of discount, if not for the second child than surely something
significant for the third. Being a family oriented school enriches the school
itself; the greater number of kids and especially parents in our community
who are supportive and understanding of the school's philosophy and nature,
the better. Also, discounted tuition rates help ensure younger children in
the school (who won't be dramatically pulled out when they reach high school
age), as opposed to older kids and teenagers who find the school after being
hurt from public school or being unhappy (or whatever their reasons for
coming to the school), which I think is a plus. Nothing against people who
come to the school later than age 4, but I think there are definitely
benefits for both the child and the school that way. Parents who have adapted
the SVS lifestyle for their children (purely a figure of speech) should not
have to choose which child to send to the school and which child or children
they need send elsewhere. If we can help that decision by giving them a
discount so they might not have to make that decision, so be it.
    I don't know why we would look at people's finances (or what car they
drive) because that just doesn't seem like something we do. We DO have a flat
rate for Nickerson and skiing and other school excursions, which I don't
imagine anyone would want changed. But I don't believe it to be an equality
issue to say families get discounts after the first initial child (who pays
the same rate as all single family children), I think of it as a privilege
with benefits for both parties involved (the school and the family), one we
should keep.
    In many people's minds, the Morningstar family quickly comes to mind when
talking about multiple family issues (for those who don't know them, they are
a family who has had children enrolled at SVS for 8 or 9 years; currently we
have 7 of their children enrolled, and I expect the younger 4 children be
given to us in the years to come). I know nothing about their finances, but 7
kids at nearly 5g each is a mouthful for just about anyone. Would it not be
tragic, to say the least, if we made a flat tuition rate for all students,
which resulted in families like the Morningstars having make choices which
kids get to stay? Or pulling out all of their children so as not to make that
choice? This happened recently with another multiple child family, and if the
tuition rate was standard for each student it might happen a lot more.
    As Ann Crockett pointed out at the Assembly meeting, parents with more
than one child are paying more than single child families NO MATTER WHAT kind
of discount they get for additional children; Even additional children was at
some ridiculously low rate, such as $100, that is still paying more than
parents paying for one child.
    In summary, I am opposed to eliminating the multiple family discount,
though reducing it could be an option. Is there a tuition shortage? What
kind, and why exactly? I don't think people's finances should determine how
much they pay for tuition. I don't know what should be done in the end, but
am anxious to see what does happen in future meetings/discussions/emails.
~Myla~ from SVS


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