GSA increases tuition request

BLUE HILL — George Stevens Academy has renewed its request this year to sending towns for additional monies — $1,700 per pupil — above the state-set tuition rate.

GSA officials say the state-set tuition rate is not in line with what it actually costs to educate high school students.

The rate that the school was allowed by law to charge towns sending its students to GSA was $11,275 per student last year.

“We won’t know this year’s figures until mid-December, at the earliest,” said Head of School Tim Seeley.

Last year the school asked for an additional $1,000 per student.

“So, $700 additional [for a total of $1,700 additional], and that’s as much as we’ll ask for supplemental tuition for the foreseeable future,” Seeley said. “Looking at our projections going forward, looking at the other ways we get revenue, we’ll have a balanced budget.”

The $700 increase in the request is not attributed to any budget line item, he added.

In years past, GSA relied on revenue from its international boarding program to subsidize the difference between what the school could charge for tuition and what it was spending to educate students.

But in recent years, the boarding program, which was founded in 2008, has been losing money. This year, the program has five students, mostly from China.

Three years ago, the boarding program had 49 students enrolled, 40 of those from China.

However, even before the pandemic the boarding program had lost revenue due to a variety of factors.

Seeley has previously attributed the decline in boarding students to numerous issues including the state of relations between China and the U.S. as well as more high schools opening in China that teach English.

Each town on the peninsula will decide on whether to present the additional tuition request to its voters and how it will do so.

Last year, some towns added it to the total education budget. Others held a referendum and others had a warrant article at town meeting.

The school has proposed expenses for FY 2022 totaling $5,474,544, according to Seeley.

Jennifer Osborn

Jennifer Osborn

Reporter and columnist at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Jennifer Osborn covers news and features on the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle-Stonington. She welcomes tips and story ideas. She also writes the Gone Shopping column. Email Jennifer with your suggestions at [email protected] or call 667-2576.
Jennifer Osborn

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