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Free tuition policy remains

Dr. Barbara Johnson

Out-of-county students will continue to reap the benefit of not having to pay tuition while enrolled in Prince Edward County Public Schools.

The unanimous vote by the county’s school board Wednesday affirmed continuing the current policy where students will be allowed into the county’s schools for free unless they have special education needs.

Schools frequently charge a tuition rate for out-of-county students.

“Currently, we have approximately 40 to 42 students who are out of Prince Edward County,” said Division Superintendent Dr. Barbara Johnson. “Last year, the year before last, perhaps, not sure what the date was, the board decided not to charge out of county tuition for this year … It’s incentive for families outside in our surrounding counties, and we’ve seem to have benefitted on some levels because our enrollment is going up.”

Johnson said that it was possible the out-of-county incentive was part of the increased enrollment numbers, but she said she couldn’t pinpoint it.

According to Director of Accountability and Research Dr. Greg Wheeler, the student per diem projected for fiscal year 2018 is $6,084.

The approximately 40 out-of-county students would allow the county more than $10 million dollars through state and local funds.

The division has seen a 24-student increase in enrollment in the current school year, a trend carried over from the 2015-16 school year that began to reverse a 2014-15 school year decrease.

In August, the division started with an increase of 26 students — 2,035 divisionwide — compared to an enrollment of 2,009 students in May.