810 Cape Cod students attend charter schools at a cost to local school districts of $10.8 million, according to data obtained from the School Finance Office of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).
Dennis-Yarmouth, Sandwich and Barnstable’s school districts were hardest hit by charter tuition, with the districts paying more than $2 million each to send their students to charter schools, primarily Sturgis Charter Public School in Hyannis and Cape Cod Lighthouse Charter School in Harwich. Barnstable lost 182 students to charters while DY came in second with 176 students.
With word that a group of former Barnstable educators is forming a new K-5 charter school in the mid-Cape area, school competition may increase dramatically should charters become an option at all grade levels. Sturgis currently operates as a two-campus high school and Lighthouse Charter offers a grade 6-8 curriculum.
With 810 Cape students attending charter schools and more than 1,000 participating in school choice nearly $85 million is changing hands between school choice ($74M) and charter choice ($10.8).
Each Barnstable student who wins a seat in a charter school lottery costs the town $11,292. In DY that number is $13,026. Nauset loses $16,792 on each charter student and Provincetown a whopping $28,210.
Should the proposed K-5 school enroll 150 students from Barnstable and 100 from Yarmouth, for example, the two school districts would pay another $1.69 million and $1.3 million in charter tuition, respectively.