End tuition – CSD closes its doors

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt March 19, 2014


City Schools of Decatur has effectively ended its policy of allowing out-of-district students to pay tuition to enroll.

City spokeswoman Courtney Burnett said the city school system stopped taking all tuition students last year. The year before that, the school system stopped taking students in grades K-5. The system still provides courtesy tuition for children of full time employees of CSD, Superintendent Phyllis Edwards said.

The Board of Education on March 11 set the 2014-2015 out-of-district tuition rates at $5,258. When Decaturish asked CSD staff questions about it, Burnett revealed that the current 122 tuition students will be the last admitted.

CSD decision to close the door to tuition students in the 2013-2014 school year was reported by Atlanta Magazine last March. At the time, Atlanta Magazine described it as a temporary solution to the school system’s burgeoning enrollment.

Burnett said CSD still receives questions from parents interested in enrolling their students.

“We get people calling asking us about it, and we tell them we don’t accept new students paying tuition,” she said.

CSD Finance Director Susan Hurst provided Decaturish with a list of tuition rates over the years. The tuition rates are based upon the school system’s revenues and expenditures:

2003-2004 – $4,650.00

2004-2005 – $5,700.00

2005-2006 – $5,500.00

2006-2007 – $5,750.00

2007-2008 – $6,570.00

2008-2009 – $6,430.00

2009-2010 – $6,080.00

2010-2011 – $5,690.00

2011-2012 – $6,110.00

2012-2013 – $5,480.00

2013-2014 – $5,926.00

Edwards said there were more tuition students when she took over as head of CSD in 2003.

“The schools were very small and even at that, there were not enough children to have any level of efficiency,” she said. “When the enrollment began to grow at rates of 10 to 11 percent annually, I stopped taking paying tuition because of the limited space at the schools.”

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of Decaturish.com. https://www.linkedin.com/in/danwhisenhunt

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  • COD Resident

    Wouldn’t it be more correct to say that CSD stopped taking all NEW tuition students last year? CSD appears to be letting those who are attending CSD already to continue. That number is evidently 122 but should dwindle quickly over the next decade as no new tuition students are added. I support CSD in not making those 122 children leave CSD at this point in their education. Especially since their families tend to be incredible supporters of CSD as folks who value it enough to pay tuition. You see their names on all the PTAs/PTOs and lists of volunteers and donors.

    • It’s hard to cram all that info into our limited headline space, I’m afraid. Headline writing is tricky, but I strive to find a balance between accuracy and enticement.

    • Parent

      I have heard that CSD is letting siblings of current tuition students apply for tuition spots this year. That does not seem like it goes along with this new ruling that no more tuition students will be accepted. Who would be allowing this? Or is this just a false rumor.

      • I have not heard that and CSD didn’t indicate that. I will ask and post the answer here.

        • Parent

          Thank you for looking into that.

      • OK, just spoke to Courtney Burnett. She said siblings are admitted on a case-by-case basis. She promised to provide more details later on this evening.

        • COD resident

          Case by case basis? Using what criteria? Space availability at particular grade level? Needs of younger sibling–e.g. special education, ESL, gifted services? Behavior/grades? Attendance/tardiness? It’s important that these decisions are based on objective, documented criteria and impartial decision-making, not who-you-know or good/bad luck.

          • Parent

            I completely agree with this comment! Either there is a clear policy (approved by the school board) that no more tuition students are excepted except for the 122 students that are currently enrolled as originally stated OR there should be a clear policy of how more tuition students are excepted and under what criteria (sibling or not) and the public should be aware of this policy. CSD should not be excepting tuition students into its schools without clear criteria that is publicized. Otherwise it worries me that favoritism and misrepresentation could be in play. Dan, I would really appreciate it if you could follow up on this further.

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