In a letter from a resident and at a Town Council meeting, the question has emerged: Should New Canaan continue its practice of allowing the children of educators in the district who don’t live in town to attend local schools for free?
Here’s a table that looks at how some nearby towns handle this—the schools listed here belong to the same CT Department of Education “District Reference Group”:
Out-of-District Faculty Children: Cost To Attend Schools
|District||Out-of-district children allowed?||Tuition charged?||Details|
|ER9 (1) Easton||Yes||Yes||15% of $17,154 ($2,573)
*elementary & middle school
|ER9 (2) Redding||Yes||No||Free of charge, elementary & middle school|
|ER9 (3) Region 9||Yes||Yes||Joel Barlow HS: 20% of $18,423 ($3,685)|
Certified staff: 15% of tuition $17,019 ($2,553)
Other town employees: 25% of tuition ($4,255)
|Ridgefield||Yes||Yes||2013-14 figure: $3,861
*30% for school, town, bus employees
|New Canaan||Yes||No||Free of charge|
|Weston||Yes||Yes||25% of $19,384 ($4,846)|
|Wilton||Yes||No||Free of charge|
Currently, officials say, 51 children attending New Canaan Public Schools fall into the category, mostly in the younger elementary school grades. During a discussion of the matter, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi said at the July 15 Town Council meeting that the children of nonresident educators are spread out among the schools so that no new sections are added as a result. Luizzi added that the practice results from a Board of Education policy and is at the discretion of the school board.
Specifically, policy 5120 (on page 123 here), approved in April 1956, states: “When deemed appropriate by the administration, children of non-resident public school teachers are permitted to attend the New Canaan Public Schools at no cost to the parent. Such placements will be reviewed annually by the Superintendent. However, the parent is responsible for transporting children to the nearest bus stop in New Canaan.”
In June 2013, documents show that the Board of Ed had sought to revise the policy to be more specific—for example, that such school assignments must be reviewed each year, that transportation is not included and no child expelled from another school qualifies—though it isn’t clear whether any formal action was taken after sending the expanded policy to an attorney for review.
Asked for her thoughts on the longstanding practice, Board of Ed Chair Hazel Hobbs said she thought it was a beneficial policy for New Canaan to preserve, for three reasons. First, as an incentive to prospective educators, it helps New Canaan attract and retain the very best, she said. Second, the policy in its inclusiveness has the potential to bring the participating educators themselves even closer to the community. And finally, Hobbs said, it brings the educators even closer to the parents, students and families they serve.