re: DSM: Thoughts on Tuition Structure

From: Scott David Gray (sgray@aramis.sudval.org)
Date: Sun Nov 18 2001 - 11:05:51 EST


To reiterate my last post on this subject:

The current policy of 100-75-50 _is_ a compromise between
two opposite positions -- one seeking a "family" rate
(100-0-0), and the other seeking an "individual" rate
(100-100-100).

For the details of why I feel it would be a mistake to
"renegotiate" that compromise, please see my post at
http://www.sudval.org/~sdg/archives/dsm7/0105.html

On Sun, 18 Nov 2001, Jesse Fisher wrote:

> Preface: Sometimes outsiders may be able to offer workable suggestions since they aren't emotionally or financially invested.
>
> How about just tweaking the percentages as a compromise?
> Based on the amount of the shortfall, the second-child discount could be, say, 80 or 85%. The third-child discount could be 64 or 72%. The rates could adjust according to the previous year's shortfall or surplus.
>
> Just a thought.
>
>
> > The current SVS tuition structure sets a tuition amount for the first child
> > in a family. The second child is charged 75% of that amount, and the third
> > and subsequent children are charged 50%. Last year this meant that single
> > child families were charged about $500 more than they would have been if
> > there were a flat rate for all students. Families with two children were
> > charged approximately the flat rate per child, and families with three or
> > more children were charged less than the flat rate per child.
>
> > Last spring the Assembly was informed that the proportion of multi-child
> > families had increased to the point that we faced a tuition shortfall. We
> > were asked to reaffirm the current policy, and to further increase tuition
> > in order to cover the shortfall. I voiced my objections to the current
> > policy in the context of this discussion. I clearly was not the only one
> > who thought we should re-evaluate this policy, since the Assembly voted to
> > have the Trustees study it again.
>
> > Now, this year, the Trustees have issued a call for papers to the SVS
> > Assembly. Here, in brief, are my thoughts on this subject.
>
> > We charge one rate for everything else at SVS, from pencils to
> > dances, to ski trips, to the week of camping at Nickerson, because
> > fundamentally we think that it is the fair thing to do. Everybody pays the
> > same rate for everything, except tuition. I fully understand that not all
> > multi-child families are wealthy, and that some families need the tuition
> > discount in order to afford to send all of their children to SVS. But, as
> > a
> > result of the current tuition policy, SVS gives financial aid to some
> > wealthy people at the expense of some families with less money and fewer
> > children. This means that there are parents of single children who are
> > struggling to subsidize the tuition of people who can afford to pay the
> > full
> > rate for each of their children. We charge the highest rate to some of
> > those who can least afford it, including those students who pay their own
> > tuition because they have been cut off from financial support by their
> > deadbeat parents. If a family (or student) can't pay the full tuition at
> > the beginning of each year, we charge them an additional amount (I believe
> > it is 10%) for the privilege of paying over time. We have had kids
> > struggling to make tuition payments while working at barely better than
> > minimum wage jobs for the benefit of wealthy families who spend more on
> > their vacations than those kids are living on in a year. I'm not blaming
> > those more wealthy families, because we don't even ask them to pay their
> > fair share. They pay what we ask them to pay.
>
> > I think we should charge the same amount for each child unless the family
> > decides that they need financial assistance from the rest of the community.
> > This is commonly referred to as a sliding scale, and many kinds of
> > businesses offer it. If any multiple child family decides they need to
> > take
> > advantage of the tuition discount at the old rate (25% and 50%), they take
> > it. We're not going to question their decision. Not even if they drive a
> > BMW, not even if they live in a mansion, not even if they hit the lottery
> > for $100,000,000. They decide. And the school budgets assuming that
> > every multi-child family takes the discount. Any monies collected above
> > the
> > budgeted amount would go into a fund to defray the costs for tuition-paying
> > students and parents of single children who request financial assistance.
>
> > Much of what I have written here I said at last spring's epic Assembly
> > meeting. Since then I have thought more about this topic, discussed it
> > with
> > friends and family, and refined my position (of which the above is just a
> > bare-bones version). I'm sure I will tweak it still more before I submit
> > my
> > paper to the SVS Journal.
>
> > Since that meeting I have also been roundly criticized, my position has
> > been
> > distorted, and my motives and right to raise this issue have been
> > questioned. I remain unapologetic about opposing a policy which I think
> > has
> > outlived its usefulness, especially when to go along with it year after
> > year
> > means that we raise the tuition rates on those least able to afford it more
> > frequently than we might otherwise have to. I am an Assembly member and
> > this is a matter which, according to SVS's by-laws, falls squarely on the
> > Assembly. Expressing my opinion on this subject is therefore perfectly
> > appropriate. The fact that I am only a parent should not automatically
> > reduce my proposal to something not in keeping with the philosophy of a
> > Sudbury model school.
>
> > I'm very interested to hear what this listserve thinks about this issue.
>
> > Dawn Harkness
>
>
>
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-- 
 
--Scott David Gray
reply to: sgray@sudval.org
http://www.unseelie.org/
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