On Monday evening, Aug. 6, the Town Council and the manager spoke about a letter that the manager wrote to the town of Jamestown regarding payment toward the high school bond. This issue has been pushed around for many years and continues to be a source of irritation between the Jamestown community and our town.
Mr. Mudge and others do not understand the value or the economics of this relationship, and should this discussion continue, we may very well see Jamestown send its students elsewhere. If this happens, there will be dire consequences for our high school. Here is why:
First, let me begin by saying that the Jamestown students come to our high school very well prepared and are some of our most high performing students both academically and athletically. Any school district would be very happy to have these students attend their schools.
The business end of this relationship is the money we receive for tuition. Included in this amount are many items and are adjustable as costs and enrollment change. This agreement can be reviewed annually, and it does not include transportation, which is provided by Jamestown. The actual income received for tuition over the past several years is as follows: 2010 — $2,260,097; 2011 — $2,317,485; and 2012 — $2,029,868. The average cost to have these students attend our high school is approximately $800,000 a year. (These numbers where supplied by the NKSD)
So in any given year, it is apparent that we take in far more than it actually costs the district. These funds are then used to provide support for the entire high school program for electives, sports, honors and advance placement courses, as well as additional staff.
The Town Council and Mr. Mudge want Jamestown to pay additional money to cover the bond in the amount of approximately $260,000 a year. We are in effect receiving that and more to the benefit of our taxpayers and our students, easily in excess of $1 million more than they are looking for. So if we keep pushing the buttons of the folks in Jamestown, not only won’t we get the $260,000 they are asking for, but we will lose more than $2 million in tuition money. Where will that money come from when it is gone?
Please remember that this is our school for our students. We own it, we maintain it, we heat it and the staff belong to our school department. It is our obligation to maintain a high-performing school district, even if Jamestown decides to go elsewhere.
We need to stop trying to force them to leave and thank them for coming because if they leave, you will see your taxes go up and hear the cheers from another school district that will welcome them with open arms.
Would I like to see more money come from Jamestown? Absolutely, but that just is not going to happen. Put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself why you would want to stay in North Kingstown when some are making it appear that we want them to go. Contact your council member and let them know what you think. It is your community.
North Kingstown School Committee