After approving increases annually for several years in a row, the St. Clair R-XIII School District Board of Education opted to leave nonresident tuition rates the same for the second year in a row.
The action was taken during the board’s February meeting and came on the heels of a recommendation from Superintendent Mike Murphy.
“You will find that over the history of our non-tuition rate, we have increased the amount every year, until 2013-14 when there was no increase,” Murphy said. “My recommendation is to keep it flat for one more year and look at a possible adjustment one year from now.”
Nonresident tuition is the money that students and their families pay to St. Clair R-XIII if they live out of the district but attend local schools. Murphy said currently all students who do that attend the high school.
The current and now future annual tuition rate is $7,289.
“I’m comfortable making it the same,” board member Steve Pelton said.
A year ago, the R-XIII board of education decided for the first time in at least 10 years to keep the tuition rate the same as the year before.
A check of the annual non-tuition rates provided by Murphy at the February board meeting showed that since the 2007-08 academic year, the annual fee has increased between 2 and 10 percent until this current year.
“There is no true scientific method to this,” the superintendent said in trying to determine a tuition rate.
In 2007-08, the annual amount was $5,700. Over the next five years, it increased 4.4, 10, 6, 3 and 2 percent, respectively, to arrive at this year’s $7,289.
Most students who attend St. Clair but live outside district boundaries come from Lonedell R-XIV, which is a kindergarten through eighth-grade district.
“The majority of students we receive are from Lonedell,” Murphy said. “Those kids either come to us or go to Grandview.”
Murphy has estimated
that as many as 100 students from the Lonedell area attend St. Clair schools annually.
Grandview currently is charging $5,750 per year for nonresident tuition.
There is a different non-resident figure for younger students. If a child in kindergarten through eighth grade would attend R-XIII, he or she would be charged $6,500.
However, the district currently has no outside students in those grades.
Murphy gave board members a comparison sheet with other area school districts. According to that information, the majority of area districts have not set their 2014-15 nonresident tuition rates.
Sullivan tentatively has set its 2014-15 rate at $6,667, a slight increase over the current year.
Union currently is sitting at $7,214, Meramec Valley is at $8,649, Washington is at $9,300 and Northwest is at $10,362.
Of all those school districts listed, St. Clair has the lowest tax levy at $2.75 per every $100 of assessed valuation.
In comparison, Sullivan’s tax levy rate is $3.0517, Union’s is $2.79, Meramec Valley’s is $3.62, Washington’s is $3.6888, Northwest’s is $3.9688 and Grandview’s is $3.256.
If any R-XIII employee lives out of the St. Clair district, his or her children get the tuition fee waived.