An article by Deirdre Fernandes (“Minuteman waiting for state vote on study,’’ Globe West, May 31) describes the repeated efforts of Minuteman Regional Vocational High School Superintendent Edward Bouquillon to form a capital funding consensus among all of Minuteman’s member towns for needed renovations.
For the last three years, the superintendent has followed the advice of paid consultants and lobbyists, allowing them to shape his funding policies without success, while ignoring the road map that member town officials provided the superintendent over a year ago at his request.
The local officials have made it clear that Minuteman must require all nonmember communities, like Boston, Watertown, and Medford, sending large numbers of tuition students to Minuteman to either join the district or pay a tuition amount equal to what is paid by member towns for Minuteman services.
If a nonmember city chooses to not pay its fair share of operating and capital costs, Minuteman has no legal or educational responsibility to accept its tuition students.
In requiring more tuition from nonmembers, Minuteman would eliminate having member towns subsidize the financial losses associated with each tuition student.
It is fiscally irresponsible that the Minuteman administration would put member towns in the untenable position of subsidizing an ever-increasing nonmember student enrollment.
The town managers believe that instead of cobbling together cost-shifting formulas that are patently unfair and biased in favor of one or two towns, capital assessments could easily be based on the state’s Chapter 70 minimum operating assessment percentages for all towns. These figures already equitably incorporate weighted wealth factors.
It’s my belief that a large member town like Arlington would be concerned with having to accept paying $2.4 million toward its “share” of the $8 million loss resulting from the tuition revenue losses.
The problem is being institutionalized because the superintendent and School Committee chairs want to build the largest school possible, regardless of the millions of dollars assessed to subsidize nonmember students.
They ignore the reality that right-sizing the school under the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s projections would produce windfall revenue replacing the current deficits because there would be no need to hire additional teachers or staff to educate nonmember students.
The MSBA projects a student body of 445 from member towns in grades 9 to 12, plus 100 postgrads from member towns, and a maximum enrollment of 40 to 50 nonmember students to fill empty class seats. A rational nonmember enrollment would greatly reduce overall town assessments and renovation costs.
Without a right-sized school, there will never be enough revenue to hire the teachers needed to reduce overcrowded classes, which undermine educational excellence.