Burr and Burton tuition to increase by 2.9 percent for 2013-14 school year
By Patrick McArdle
STAFF WRITER | December 13,2012
MANCHESTER — Burr and Burton Academy’s tuition for the 2013-14 school year will be increasing by 2.9 percent to $14,875, the largest increase in at least three years.
The school’s current tuition rate for students from its sending towns, which include Manchester, Dorset and Winhall, is $14,450. The rate for the next school year is an increase of $425 or more than 2.9 percent.
From 2010-11 to 2011-12, the tuition increased $375 for students from the sending towns, an increase of about 2.7 percent from $13,725 to $14,100. From 2011-12 to the current year, the tuition increased $350, an increase of about 2.5 percent from $14,100 to $14,450.
For students outside the sending towns, the tuition in 2013-14 will be $15,875. The rate will be $400 more or about 2.6 percent more than this year’s tuition of $15,475.
The increase for students outside the sending towns from 2011-12 to the current school year was $375, or an increase of about 2.7 percent, from the rate of $15,100.
Mark Tashjian, headmaster at Burr and Burton, said this will be the fourth year in a row that the tuition increase is below the rate of inflation and below 3 percent despite increased costs for the school.
“The way we’ve made this work is that all of us who work here have taken a pay freeze (starting in 2010) and agreed to 1 percent salary increases (this year and next) which are also below the rate of inflation so what you have is a situation where we’re containing costs both by working to be as efficient as possible, in terms of our staffing and spending, but also by asking for all of our employees to really lose ground each year to inflation that they’re seeing in their own personal costs,” he said.
However, in a press release, Seth Bongartz, chairman of the independent school’s board of trustees, hinted that there might be higher increases in the school years to come.
“We won’t be able to do this forever or it will begin to take a toll. 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,” he said.
There are about 680 student at the school this year, according to Tashjian. He said he believes the school has the capacity to grow and accept more students both from other Vermont towns and internationally.
“We’re a very popular school in Southern Vermont so people move in to sending towns to be able to come to Burr and Burton and we see that dynamic continuing. We are expecting, and quite frankly hoping for, continued enrollment growth,” he said.
Burr and Burton Academy’s graduation rate is almost 100 percent and more than 80 percent continue to college.
For residents of the sending towns, having an independent school with Burr and Burton’s reputation has provided advantages. The school has updated its facilities and made capital improvements funded entirely by fundraising efforts and donations.
This year, for instance, Burr and Burton opened the mountain campus in Peru, a new site for experience-based education with an emphasis on environmental concern, and while that added new buildings and capacity for students, it did not require taxpayers to pay for a bond or acquire debt.
However, as an independent school, voters are asked to approve only a tuition rate with no information about the budget. That tuition rate will appear on the ballots of the 11 towns that Burr and Burton serves because those towns have no public high school.
As in past years, Tashjian said he will be attending as many school meetings as he can in March and would welcome questions about the tuition or other matters relating to Burr and Burton.