Out Of County Students

Back in 2010 when I was on the school board, we finally passed a policy that prohibited out of county students from enrolling in Loudon County schools. This was an attempt to bring under control the growth in the system. Surveys had been done that showed there were several hundred out of county students attending our schools. Some of felt that it wasn't right for Loudon County tax payers to be paying for educating children whose parents weren't tax payers in the county.

The decision was apparently a success. Since the passage of the policy, Loudon County's school enrollment has dropped by around 10% or about 500 students. This in turn should help the system save money.

Almost on a weekly basis, the Loudon County director of schools receives requests from out of county parents to allow their children to attend our schools. Mr. Vance continues to enforce our policy. So over all the policy seems to be a success, or you would think.

Not everyone on the board of ed or in the education system are supportive of the policy and each time the question comes up they always go to the same arguments. We make money on out of county students or if we charge a fee or tuition to allow out of county's it would be OK. Both arguments are invalid and I'll explain why. First that we make money.

The Loudon County School System receives funding from basically three sources. Local, State and Federal. According to the most recent state report that equates to:
Loudon County 44.2% = $3,634.00 per pupil
State 44.5% = $3,659.00 per pupil 
Federal 11.3% =  $929.00 per pupil 

So for each student enrolled in the system, supposedly, the state gives the county school system $3,659.00.

On it's face one could argue that if the school system receives $3,659.00 from the state for each student no matter where they live, then sure, we should allow any students to attend. However each of those children also cost county tax payers $3,634.00 per pupil. Plus, as the enrollment increases more teachers and staff must be hired to meet the state required teacher/student ratio.

If for instance we had 5 out of county students, the state payoff would be $18,295.00 but the local costs would be $18,170.00. Add to that if those five out of county students caused the system to have to hire one additional teacher to meet teacher/student ratio, there's another forty thousand on top of that. This is just a hypothetical but I think it makes the point.

As to fees or tuition to allow out of county students, state law only allows a local school system to collect a fee or tuition not greater than the local share of per pupil expenditures meaning $3,634.00. Add that to the state share and we're at $7,293.00 per student. But back to the example above, with additional students comes additional staff.

There is no logical argument to allow out of county students to attend Loudon County schools. The additional revenue generated by fees or tuition or even additional state funding will never cover the additional expenditures created by addition of out of county students.

The Loudon County School Board has the right policy in place and should leave it as it is. 

From The 2013 Department Of Education Report Card