Over 1,200 Cape Cod students participated in school choice last year. School Choice enrollment has increased by nearly 13.5% over the past two fiscal years.
In Fiscal 2016, some 1,207 students chose to attend another town's school district – up from 1,065 in Fiscal 2014.
These 1,207 students churn $7.2 million in funding that moves between the various school districts. School choice students bring approximately $5,800 in funds to their new school district. This amount is fixed by the state and applies to all school choice students in every Massachusetts school district. In contrast, students entering a charter school take far more money with them.
Nauset Reigns Supreme
The Nauset Regional School District remains Cape Cod’s school choice powerhouse. Nauset accepted $1.61 million in “receiving tuition” for the 279 students that migrated to Nauset. The district lost $252,619 on 32 students that choiced over to another school district. Nauset’s net profit on school choice in Fiscal 2016 was $1.36 million.
Nauset’s net gain is nearly identical to its net profit of $1.32 million in Fiscal 2013 but down from its FY2014 net of $1.54.
The new Monomoy Regional School District achieved a net profit of $360,275 on 257 incoming choice students and 197 local students that left the district for other environs. This is down $113,124 from FY2014, when the district received 239 in-bound choice students versus 184 students who choiced-out. Monomoy is attracting more in-bound students but they’re losing more indigenous students than before.
The Dennis-Yarmouth Regional School District continues to lose more money on school choice than all other “deficit districts” combined. In Fiscal 2016, DY lost $1.34 million on 121 in-bound choice students versus 352 students who left the district.
In Fiscal 2014, DY lost $1.63 million on 77 in-bound choice students versus 345 outbound. While DY continues to lose an alarming amount to school choice, they seem to be turned the numbers around. DY has nearly doubled the number of in-bound students and has reduced the number exiting students ever so slightly.
More kids are choosing Falmouth and Bourne
Falmouth appears to be growing their school choice program rather nicely. In Fiscal 2016 Falmouth had net income of $419,905 on 112 in-bound versus 40 out-bound students.
Two years ago Falmouth made a net profit of $235,529 on 70 in-bound versus 32 out-bound students.
The Bourne school district has swung from a $38,286 loss in FY2014 to a school choice profit of $235,603 in Fiscal 2016. In FY2016 Bourne attracted 134 choice students versus only 71 in FY2014.
School Competition Flourishes
School Choice continues to gain strength on Cape Cod as more families seek a different learning experience for their children.
Note that the numbers we’re reviewing today only include district-to-district school choice, not charter choice or migrations to our two vocational technical high schools.
With some 1,200 kids participating, School Choice has the equivalent impact of an entire large high school migrating between school districts. As town-by-town boundaries mean less in this “free range” education market, we will continue to see more students migrate from one town to another, enter charter school lotteries and choose a vocation education.
President-Elect Trump has tapped a charter school and school choice advocate as his next Secretary of Education, so we may see more incentives for school competition developing at the federal level before long.
As free-market education grows, our hometown school district will face stronger challenges to remain relevant in the public education space. We will likely see additional consolidations and regionalizations as the weaker districts struggle to educate the kids that remain in their home town schools.
School competition has created the best set of educational choices Cape Cod students have ever seen. Some students will “win the golden ticket” to the Cape’s two charter schools, others will choose one of our two excellent vocational-technical schools. Students in small towns will opt for a large, diverse high school and those uncomfortable in a large school may opt for the personal attention available in a much smaller school district. Whatever the choice, there has never been a better time to be a K-12 student on Cape Cod.