What is the cost of allowing interdistrict transfers of children of MPCSD staff members?
Accurately measuring the cost of each student who enters a grade level can be a challenge. Over the medium to long run, the marginal costs are probably fairly close to the average cost for the education of each student ($14,294 in 2014-15). In the short term, however, the marginal costs are probably much lower; it all depends on the actions the district would to take were the children no longer attending MPCSD schools. In other words, how much cost would the district actually avoid if children of staff were to leave?
Currently, there are 67 children of teachers/staff, who do not live within the district, attending MPCSD. These 67 students are less than 2% of the district’s total enrollment. While the highest number the district has served in recent years, the number fluctuates from year to year, while the percentage of total enrollment has stayed between 1% and 2% over the last 10 years.
Most school districts, MPCSD included, determine staffing and other resource allocation based on enrollment. There are a few ways one could look at costs; in the short term, the costs are probably much less than the $14,000 average. On the low end, one could consider 67 students as necessitating three (3) classroom teachers. At an estimated cost of $130,000 (the average expense for one teacher in MPCSD), the total expense would be $390,000. In the medium to long-term, however, the district would adjust its staffing and resource allocation for the lower student enrollment, thus increasing the cost savings over time. Since the 67 students are spread out among all four schools in all nine grade levels and across all teachers, determining the costs of serving the 67 students is inexact. It is fair to say that the actual cost is actually somewhere between $390,000 and $957,698, and over time, the costs are closer to the $957,698.
Regardless, there is no arguing the “value” of an MPCSD education. Our teachers and classified staff who don’t live in the district are grateful for the opportunity to send their children to our schools. Bringing their children to MPCSD schools benefits the entire community in the following ways:
- The recruitment and retention of highly qualified staff.
- Decreased attrition of experienced staff; greater longevity of highly trained, veteran teachers.
- Staff devote more time to all students before and after school because their own children attend the same schools.
- Staff feel a greater sense of ownership for the quality of program and service.
- Staff bring students with a diversity of backgrounds.
The benefits to the staff include:
- A greater sense of belonging to the community they serve.
- Feeling valued and appreciated for the work they do.
- Increased health and wellness.
- Greater housing opportunities. They can live in more affordable communities without fear of having to send their children to below-average schools.
- More time to focus on their jobs and the children they serve.
Interdistrict transfer agreements for staff members are common practice throughout California. Every neighboring district has similar, sometimes even more generous, policies allowing for staff to bring their children to the schools in which they work. Some school districts, like Sequoia Union High School District, even allow children of staff of their partner districts (K-8 districts whose students matriculate into high school districts) to attend their schools. The MPCSD Board reviewed the policy on October 18, 2016 and directed staff to continue to monitor and annually report publicly the number of interdistrict transfers.