DYLAN J. BAKER
MANCHESTER -- Burr and Burton Academy has announced their tuition rates for the upcoming 2013-2014 school year.
On Tuesday, the school's board of trustees set the 2013-2014 tuition for "sending district" towns at $14,875 -- a 2.9 percent increase over last year's tuition rate of $14,450.
Towns that are among the sending districts include Manchester, Danby, Dorset, Londonderry, Landgrove, Mt. Tabor, Peru, Stratton, Sunderland, Weston and Winhall.
The tuition rate for students living in towns which are not one of the designated sending district communities is also going up, from $15,475 last year to $15,875 this year.
"This really is a recognition that we are trying to keep our tuition as low as possible as a way of supporting our sending towns," said BBA headmaster Mark Tashjian. "The economic climate is still not great so we are doing our best to try and contain our costs."
Superintendent of the Bennington-Rutland Supervisory Union (BRSU), Daniel French, said he believed the increase was one that the schools within the district and the BRSU could manage within their budgets.
"This is an important number for our budget because we are calculating costs for secondary tuition and a large number of students attend BBA," said French. "We are pleased they are managing a very modest increase in costs.
According to French, the governor suggested to hold education spending amounts to 2.2 percent. The inflation rate is close to 3 percent which plays a significant factor in BBA's rising costs.
"This is the fourth straight year that we have held increases below the rate of inflation," said board chairman Seth Bongartz in a prepared statement released on Tuesday. "Our dedicated faculty and staff have supported a salary freeze as well as two years of one percent increases, all so we can support our sending towns and ensure that Burr and Burton Academy is a source of pride for all."
"We won't be able to do this forever or it will begin to take a toll," he added. "In the coming years, we will need to provide salary increases sufficient to allow our teachers and staff to get ahead of, or at least keep pace with, the cost of living."
Tashjian said that BBA will not be able to hold salaries under the rate of inflation forever or eventually BBA will lose the staff that makes them unique.
"It is a tough burden and it gets tougher each year," he said. "We need to make sure we are able to attract and retain the best teachers and staff we can. Part of that is being able to continue to pay people and have people live comfortable as a teacher at Burr and Burton."
Along with town tuition revenues, BBA uses fundraising efforts, an endowment, and private and international tuition to provide over $2 million of additional revenues.
The graduation rate of BBA if virtually 100 percent, college matriculation rate exceeds 80 percent, and it is at the top of Vermont schools in SAT, ACT, and AP testing along with a range of academic, artistic, and athletic opportunities.