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School Committee To Look At Enrollment Numbers and Losses to Private Schools

The committee, when it meets tonight, will also recognize teachers who have achieved professional status and the Educator of the Year.

 

The superintendent is expected to report back to the School Committee tonight on the number of students who have left the district for private schools.

Superintendent Lynn Celli said when the committee met last, Sept. 19, that, overall, school district enrollment this year is up over last year's figure.

As of Sept. 12, when factoring new preschool referrals, the district's enrollment — from preschool to grade 12 (plus two life skills students) — was 2,307.

That compares to a total enrollment of 2,304 on Sept. 6, 2011.

There were 176 students enrolled in the eighth grade at Swampscott Middle School in September of 2011.

In September 2012, the ninth grade class at Swampscott High School had 174 students.

A comparison of the two years reflects a loss of two students, the superintendent said.

School Committee member Jaren Landen asked the superintendent for the specific number of students who have left Swampscott for private schools.

The superintendent said the numbers would be available in October. The agenda for tonight's meeting — 7 pm at Swampscott High School — includes an enrollment report.

School Committee Chairman Larry Beaupre said in an interview that the district has been tracking the students leaving the district for private schools, asking parents of the departing students the reason or reasons why they opted to send their children elsewhere.

Maintaining strong enrollment numbers in the district is important for a couple reasons, he said.

One is that enrollment determines the amount of education funding the district receives from the state.

Two is that people pay a lot of money in taxes in Swampscott and they should expect that their children receive an education equal to or better than the education they get at a private school, he said.

Also on Wednesday the committee is scheduled to recognize Educator of the Year Judith Flynn and the teachers who have achieved professional status.

 

 

 



hammergjh October 10, 2012 at 11:47 AM
I say let 'em go. Those people still pay property taxes yet don't utilize our town's biggest budget item, it's education dept. They probably pay taxes on the higher end of the scale as well. It's a win-win.
Mark Chulsky October 10, 2012 at 11:52 AM
Right. The worse our schools perform, the more students will leave, of course it's win-win!
Gayle Bartzoff Rubin October 10, 2012 at 11:55 AM
hammergjh, the problem is that state and federal funds are based on enrollment (per pupil) you lose way more than you gain when students leave the system.
Liz October 10, 2012 at 12:09 PM
instead of working for a pretty new building focus on the quality of teachers and education for our children. granite, glass and poof do not make for a smarter kid...our education system is declining in quality. my children and I went thru the school system and received an a+ education and experience.
hammergjh October 10, 2012 at 01:20 PM
Many students who leave the school system do so regardless of how good it is. You can't prevent it completely. So Mark, stop putting words in my mouth. I have kids in the system and went through it myself. Swampscott schools used to be a thing of pride, it's still "good" but not as good as it should be. What percentage of the school budget is state vs. town?
Myjanda October 10, 2012 at 02:25 PM
Liz, I don't agree that our schools are declining in quality- what is your proof of that? Both my kids are at the high school and I find it rigorous and challenging for the most part. I am sure it could be better, but I do feel like the administration is working to improve the schools, particularly the high school. Building a new building to replace one that was truly in horrible shape was important and it's time to put that issue to bed already. The building is built, it looks great and Swampscott has one school building to be proud of at least. On a different note, I know a lot of boys who left the public schools after 8th grade last year to go to private schools (mostly the Prep) but also have heard of several who older boys who have returned in 10th or 11th grade, so it would be interesting to dig into that a bit more.
Uncle Leo October 10, 2012 at 06:00 PM
For several years now, I have heard certain people complain that the schools are not as good as they used to be here in town. I attended these schools 30 years ago and my children attend them now and the only difference I can see is that there is now a well publicized way to rank schools thanks to MCAS. This obsession with ranks did not exist when I attended Swampscott schools as there was no publicly available data to rank them. I've seen the list of colleges that SHS students were accepted into this year and I can tell you its no different than my graduating class (if anything, it's probably better). It's OK to have high expectations of the school system (especially with our tax rates), but let's stop obsessing with this romanticized vision of the golden olden days of Swampscott schools.
John October 10, 2012 at 06:23 PM
I know of one, not several like you say, that has returned to SHS. He is an upperclassman. There was a total of 21 Boys in the last two years who graduated from SMS and went to the Prep. They are ALL still there and most are doing very well both on and off the field !
Myjanda October 10, 2012 at 08:11 PM
John, you are missing the point. It isn't that the Prep is better or worse than SHS - I am sure the Prep is a great school and have no qualms with anyone who can afford a private school for their children. The point is that while some kids leave, others are indeed coming back. It isn't only one person (because I am not only talking about the Prep if you read my email again) but I know of kids who have come back from St. Mary's and also from BBN. I also know of a girl who left SHS to go to St. Marys... Once again, my point wasn't to claim that SHS is better than all other schools, but only to point out what I know from my kids to be the case, that some kids who leave do come back and that it is important to look at both those kids leaving AND kids returning to get an accurate idea of how our schools are doing.
Myjanda October 10, 2012 at 08:13 PM
John, you are missing the point. It isn't that the Prep is better or worse than SHS - I am sure the Prep is a great school and have no quarrel with anyone who can afford a private school for their children and chooses to send their child to one. I'm also certain kids who leave SHS are leaving for lots of reasons and many do as well if not better in their new school. However, the point is that while some kids leave, others are indeed coming back. It isn't only one person (because I am not only talking about the Prep if you read my email again) but I know of kids who have come back from St. Mary's and also from BBN. I also know of a girl who left SHS to go to St. Marys... Once again, my point wasn't to claim that SHS is better than all other schools, but only to point out what I know from my kids who are both at the high school to be the case, that some kids who leave do come back and that it is important to look at both those kids leaving AND kids returning to get an accurate idea of how our schools are doing.
John October 10, 2012 at 11:05 PM
I am not a Prep pusher. In fact both my kids went to SHS. I am only stating the obvious, the number of children that return are FAR Less than the number that leave the system. In Swampscott, we have a problem with kids leaving after 8th grade. I know for a fact that the percentage is much greater than any other town in the area ... take from that what you will, but its an issue. Most kids return because they can not handle the work or financial reasons, not becuse they really want to come back !
John October 10, 2012 at 11:09 PM
You have No idea how educational funding works in this state. The classes DO NOT get smaller, in fact, just the opposite ... you lose teachers and classes get bigger, much Bigger !
Tom Plumbley October 11, 2012 at 12:47 AM
Two years ago(current Sophmores) between 35-40 kids left after finishing the 8th grade at Middle School. I heard the exact number but can't remember. So lets say 38 left. You get back some kids from Charter schools, Metco, etc. So the numbers look similar. But it is not true. If those kids stayed you'd have 38 more than you have now(and much more funding). The School Department knows full well how many have left. They just are keeping that information close to the vest.
Gayle Bartzoff Rubin October 11, 2012 at 05:47 PM
To get an accurate picture we need to track each grade from K-12, with changes as a %. It is only recently that the administration started tracking the information, so it will be hard to go backwards. There will always be additions and subtractions, however, large group departures indicate something. Some will return for a multitude of reasons. As an advocate of the public schools yet making the very difficult decision to send my kids to a private h.s. (and we wrestled with the issue) students are not returning because Swampscott offers a better education. There are significant problems in the school system that are in the process of being addressed, on the radar screen or will eventually make it to the list. The cumulative effect ofmissed Chapter 70 funds, we have had to do with much less than other communities - therefore systems broke or decayed - there just wasn't the moneyto maintain and compete at the same level as many cohort schools. Many have worked long and hard to do the best with what we have. For us, it just could not be fixed fast enough. Each month we gasp as we pay the tuition but do so knowing it is worthwhile. Everyone has to make their own decision and reach conclusions that works for their families. What is best for all of Swampscott is to fight for full restore of Chapter 70 funds - our fair share! Dave Whalen you are greatly missed!

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