Over 4,000 students don’t attend school in their home district

2,159 attend Cape area private schools

4,058 local students don’t attend school in their home district

By Walter Brooks

Local students in Cape Cod's private schools. See this chart larger below.Over 2,100 students attend 15 private schools in the Cape area according to school directory website listings. Filtering out pre-school-only schools and those with fewer than 10 students, Cape Cod Academy remains the Cape’s largest single private school with 393 students while tiny Faith Christian Academy enrolls only 15. 

Pope John Paul II High School in Hyannis is growing one grade level at a time and had not yet fully “built-out” its enrollment when reported to enroll 230 students.

Over the past two years CapeCodToday.com has provided extensive coverage of school enrollment trends in the Barnstable County area, tracking trends in school choice, charter schools and the overall declining student population of the region. 

We have included only public schools in our studies because, with a level playing field, theoretically any child is eligible to enter a charter school lottery or to participate in school choice. 

Families must have the financial means to enroll their child in a private school.

Cape Cod’s “itinerant” students

Charter School ....................853

School Choice......................1,046

Private School.....................2,159

Total “itinerants”.................4,058

When the private school population of 2,159 students is added to the previously-reported “itinerant” population of charter school and school choice students, we observe that 4,058 area students are not attending their hometown’s public school district.

4,058 itinerant students is the equivalent of a “virtual” school district one-third larger than the entire Dennis-Yarmouth Regional School District.4,058 itinerant students is the equivalent of a “virtual” school district one-third larger than the entire Dennis-Yarmouth Regional School District.  Indeed, the virtual “Itinerant School District” takes the prize as the second-largest “school district” in the area. 

This is a population of over 4,000 students whose parents are sufficiently dissatisfied with their hometown public schools that they’ve sought other arrangements for their child’s education.  Even in this horrendous economy, over 2,100 families are disaffected to the point of finding a way to pay private school tuition.

What does it cost?

It's a bargain compared to the $23,446 it costs Orleans taxpayers to educate a child at Orleans Elementary School.How much does a private school education cost on Cape Cod?  Cape Cod Academy charges $10,100 for Pre-K tuition, $20,356 for K-5 students, $23,480 for grades 6-8 and $24,527 for high school.  That is certainly a high bar for the average family to reach, but a bargain compared to the $23,446 it costs Orleans taxpayers to educate a child at Orleans Elementary School or the $31,294 per student burden that Provincetown taxpayers must endure.

On the more affordable end of the scale, St. Pius X School in Yarmouth charges $4,950 for full-day PreK, $4,700 for K-4 and $4,950 for grades 5-8.  Trinity Christian in Hyannis charges $6,707 for full-day Pre-K, $7,025 for Kindergarten, $7,237 for grades 1-6, $7,974 for grade 7, $8,674 for grade 8 and $8,298 for high school.

Challenging Tides

The ebb and flow of 4,058 students among various non-traditional enrollment options is an enormous challenge for public school administrators as they struggle with class sizes, staff layoffs and financial forecasting.  Moreover, a shift in enrollment from one venue to another can raise havoc with both the traditional public school district or potential “destination” schools.

Read the recent stories on this issue in the past month below:

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