Chesilhurst School District in Camden County, with a grand total of 195 kids pre-K through 6th grade in one school, has been ordered by the DOE to dissolve and send their kids to Winslow Public Schools, where they already send their 7th – 12th graders. How’s this going over with the 1,900 residents? Not so well. In fact, they’re appealing the decision to Education Commissioner Lucille Davy because, according to the Courier-Post, they want Shirley B. Foster Elementary School to remain open and they don’t want to pay Winslow $18,000 per student.
Chesilhurst Mayor Michael Blunt says,
You don’t close down a school on a whim. The people of Chesilhurst have been through a lot. Without a feasibility study, who’s to say we’re getting better services at Winslow? Winslow had a budget shortfall and now it’s getting our state aid.
What do we get? It’s costing us $18,000 to send each student there. We could send our kids to private school for that.
It’s true. Just for fun, we looked at local private and charter schools to compare costs. Haddonfield Friends School in Camden County offers top-notch academics, small classes, and all sorts of academic perks. Tuition for elementary school-age kids is $12,500 per year, with an additional $2,000 a year for parents who need their kids to stay til 6. Camden’s Promise Charter School runs about $14,000 per elementary school kid, while Camden Academy Charter High School gets by on about $12,500 per year.
No wonder Chesilhurst residents are reluctant to consolidate. Until we get our per pupil costs under control, no smart shopper will be interested.