News Feature

Originally published in The Weekly Packet, June 8, 2017
Brooklin School adopts private tuition policy

by Anne Berleant

In a unanimous vote by its five-member board, the Brooklin School has opened its doors to students outside of Brooklin in hopes that it will bring more students to a school that has seen its enrollment drop to as low as 50 students in recent years.

Currently, enrollment stands at about 68 students, including 14 pre-K students and 14 eighth-graders set to graduate.

The vote, and policy, came after months of discussion, including how to handle applications for students who may have costly special education needs.

“It’s been a long process,” Chairman Paige Morse said. “We [will be] looking at applications on a case-by-case basis and determining if we have the resources to provide for any [applying] student.”

According to the policy, adopted on May 23, nonresident applications will be reviewed by an admissions committee of the principal, classroom teacher, and the superintendent or designee, with other professionals invited as needed, including the school counselor, special education teacher, nurse or speech and language therapist.

The principal shall have the final discretion on whether to admit a nonresident tuition student based on academic record, discipline record, character “and any other criteria deemed relevant.”

Nonresident tuition students must reapply each year, and the tuition rate will be set on an annual basis.

In a town where rental properties are scarce and “not cost-effective” for working families, Morse said that the board is “hopeful [this] may open up some opportunities for those that work in Brooklin but don’t live here” or offer options to students who live outside Brooklin, but “we are not actively recruiting” students from other districts.

The tuition rate for 2017-18 will be decided at the board’s next meeting, when a new principal will likely also be nominated, Morse said.

The board meets on Tuesday, June 13, at 6 p.m. at the school library.