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July 23, 2013

New Castle Schools: District won’t release names in tuition issue

(Continued)

NEW CASTLE — FUTURE DECISIONS

Sarandrea said that he also is interested in addressing what the district can do to prevent the tuition noncompliance matter from occurring in the future.

“We can’t have findings of this nature again.”

Sarandrea noted that the money the district owes to the state Department of Education in subsidy is actually more — by about $30,000 — than what the district can collect from the families of the seven students in back tuition.

 The district in May 2009 voted to reduce the tuition for pre-kindergarten out-of-district parents to $3,100. In March of 2010, it reduced it again to $3,000 and further reduced that by half for cases where there were multiple children from the same family, according to records provided by district business manager Joe Ambrosini.

Those rates held for 2010-11, and in 2011-12, they were reduced further to $1,500 per child and to $750 for cases with multiple children in the same family.

Those rates have held since then.

Ambrosini estimated that the amount owed to the district by the parents, with the reduced rates applied, is $80,172.

That indicates that at least some of the non-resident students attending without paying were in pre-kindergarten.

“The auditor general’s numbers were simply based on what the per pupil expenditure is,” Sarandrea said, adding the auditors would not know about the discounted rates passed by the board “unless they specifically looked for it.”  

He explained that the district still must repay the $110,664 to the state, because the district received that subsidy for those students.

“It has no bearing on our payback,” he said. The discounted total “is only the amount we can legally recover based on our own policies. The error took place when we received subsidy for the (the students) when they were not residents.”

Because the parents of the non-resident students are school employees, the district now must discuss with them how to proceed regarding employee status and the tuition issue, Sarandrea indicated.

 “When all of this is resolved, we will put together a package and send it to the auditor general about how this has been resolved and what we are going to do from this time forward.”

(Have a question or a news tip? Contact reporter Debbie Wachter at dwachter@ncnewsonline.com.)

 

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