The easiest mathematical solution is to cap the Woodstock Academy’s per pupil percent increase in tuition to the percent increase in the school budget that is approved by taxpayers. It is easily calculable and not tied to any subjective measurements. The amount paid to WA will still vary based on the quantity of students sent, but that is expected.Of course the trick is to get Woodstock Academy to agree to any such funding scheme. The reality is that the Woodstock BOE has little choice but to send the bulk of grades 9-12 students to the Woodstock Academy. The Woodstock BOE is also statutorily required to pay whatever fees they charge. On the Woodstock Academy’s part they really have no choice but to take Woodstock’s students as we provide the bulk of their revenues (among other reasons). So with or without a contract the bulk of Woodstock’s 9-12 grade students go to the Woodstock Academy. This leaves Woodstock Academy with little reason to offer the town contract concessions in the form of tuition caps or anything similar. There is also very little reason for the town or Woodstock to enter in such a contract without those concessions because they have to take our students anyway.
In the next (I believe) Woodstock BOE meeting we are going to be discussing the history of contract negotiations and if we should have another go at it. I do think we should have another go but I also think the same dynamic I talked about above will be in play. Unless something changes any negotiations are likely to lead to the same conclusion.
This dynamic is in many ways a simplification of the problem but explains attempts to change the dynamic. For example, while I wasn’t there I suspect the 9th grade proposal was an attempt to change that dynamic and increase the bargaining power of the town. If there was a credible threat of switching some of the business we do with the Woodstock Academy then they might be under more pressure to offer financial concessions. Unfortunately by running that one down, the BOE ended up showing that there is no credible threat of switching, the residents of town won’t support it. The dynamic remained the same, in fact the Woodstock Academy’s position was strengthened by the abject failure of the 9th grade proposal. Read the rest of this entry »