By Diana Bowley, Of the NEWS Staff - DOVER-FOXCROFT - SAD 68 Superintendent John Dirnbauer figures the $6,353 per pupil cost the district pays to educate seven students at the Tri-County Technical Center is too much money.So Dirnbauer has asked the technical center's advisory council, of which he is a member, to either reduce the district's assessment or institute a pay-as-you-go rate for SAD 68.
"I just think the matter needs to be reviewed," Dirnbauer said this week. What SAD 68 is doing, he said, is subsidizing a lower rate for other participating school districts.
But other council members representing SAD 4, SAD 41, SAD 48 and SAD 46 say that a reduction for SAD 68 would mean an increase for them.
The cost-sharing formula for the center is determined by taking the budgeted funds for the center for the coming year and subtracting any anticipated income and the center's state and local allocation paid to SAD 46, the host district. Each district's share is based on enrollment and the center's operational costs. The enrollment for each district is determined by taking a three-year average of enrollment at each high school and a three-year average of each school's participation at the center, according to Nick Vafiades, center director.
Based on these three-year averages, SAD 68 has 16 slots available this year for the district's high school students who pay tuition to attend Foxcroft Academy, but is using only seven of the slots. In 2000-2001, SAD 68 filled most of its slots, but in 1998-99, the district paid $33,413 for one student to attend, according to Dirnbauer. With an assessment for 2002-2003 of $44,476 for technical center costs, the per-pupil cost for these seven students amounts to $6,353, he said.
"It's way too much money to be paying for seven kids to attend the program," Dirnbauer said. The district may not be faced with this issue next year as Foxcroft Academy officials have said that more students plan to enroll at the technical center. But some relief is needed this year, according to Dirnbauer.
SAD 46 could use the same philosophy as SAD 68, Vafiades said. As a comparison, he said SAD 46 is paying an assessment of $467,228 this year for 57 students for a per pupil cost of $8,197.
Vafiades noted that sending school districts not only receive the traditional state subsidy for each student but they also receive additional subsidy for technical center classes. If a district sends no students to the center, it does not receive the extra subsidy, he said.
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