The City Schools of Decatur has only raised the tuition at its 0-3 year-old program at the College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center by $20/month since it was acquired by CSD back in 2011, according to a note to the School Board from College Heights Principal Suzanne Kennedy.
At Tuesday night’s meeting, the Decatur School Board approved phasing in a much larger tuition increase at the ECLC over the next three school years.
Principal Kennedy stated in her note to the Board that the ECLC’s tuition rates are “significantly lower than current market value” according to a review of the tuition levels at 10 comparable childhood learning centers around Atlanta. Principal Kennedy also noted that CSD currently supplements the ECLC to the tune of $1,350,000 a year.
And of course one can’t consider this without first reflecting on CSD’s ever-top-of-mind K-12 student enrollment bulge.
Principal Kennedy stated “College Heights funding may become a larger challenge than it is today given the significant increases in student enrollment across the district and CSD’s primary mandate to serve the K-12 program. After reviewing this information, the council agreed that it was time to adjust tuition rates to be more aligned to other centers and to become more financially sustainable.”
After a “significant amount of deliberation and discussion” including three ECLC Advisory Council Meetings, discussions with Council Members, and “informal Hallway/cocktail/coffee conversations”, CSD staff recommended a gradual increase in ECLC monthly tuition over the next three school years.
As shown in the chart above from the presentation attached to the recommendation, in 2015-2016, tuition will rise $100 from the current level of $1000/month for infants and $900/month for 2-3 year olds. In both 2016-2017 and 2017-2018, the tuition rate will rise again for both age groups by $150/month each school year. CSD will also offer a “family discount” of 10% for oldest child if 2 or more enrolled in 0-3.
After all is said and done, monthly tuition is rising from $1,000/month to $1,400 for infants and from $900/month to $1,300/month for 2-3 year-olds by the 2017-2018 school year.
These tuition increases will bring in an additional $543,000 per year (as shown in the chart below), helping to close the $1,350,000 gap that currently exists in the program’s costs and its tuition revenue.
Charts and tables courtesy of ECLC presentation to School Board