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    Crazy Question

    This is something I've wondered for years: is there any way to create a tuition-free school while still paying teachers, etc? Would it just depend on a benefactor, fundraising, and donations? Has anyone done it? I found a group in St. Louis that tried in the early 2000's but they relied on loans and federal funding and it doesn't look like the schools are open anymore.
    Jennifer
    Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

    2019-2020 Plans:

    DS16
    MP10 Lit, MP-Holt Biology, Light to the Nations II, Spanish
    MPOA: Algebra I, High School Comp II

    DS15
    As above, plus:
    MP Greek Tragedies; no Spanish
    MPOA: Fourth Form Latin

    DS12: 7M subbing Sea to Shining Sea for American history

    DS11: Simply Classical Level 4

    DD9: 3A, with First Form Latin (long story!)

    DD7/8: Simply Classical Level 3

    DD 4/5: Simply Classical Level C (NT using SC for two-year PreK due to January birthday)

    #2
    I think the most likely scenario would be the heavy support of a church or parish. That's a little tenuous though, because they could change their mind in future and you have built something families can't sustain.

    I also think that tuituon-free would not give you the level of family commitment needed to pull off a curriculum like Memoria Press. I don't think it has to be free to have good value. One of my friends talks a lot about at-cost models for tutorials. I can give you her info.

    A good question to think about is why would it need to be free? You have probably already considered this! Anyway, it's a good question. I don think it should be unaffordable, but I do think it should support itself and remain a good value to families. A day (7.5 hours) at HLN for the oldest kids only costs $60. In our city, that's the minimum price of one hour of private high school tutoring. In my view, it's unwise to create a school that cannot support itself if underlying factors change. This would be like knowingly underpaying staff with the knowledge that that would be unsustainable, or massively undercharging families knowing you'll have to increase tuition when more get on board later. Or, not telling families you pay no rent and that effects their tuition. No rent situations can change. Etc.

    I certainly hear your heart in this. Free always sounds good. In my view though, you want the right sort of hurdles so that you get committed families who are on board with the purpose and form of your school.

    Does your state have vouchers or tax credits for education? I know many states do out west, and some of them are huge amounts per child, effectively making a tutorial free. There are none in Tennessee.
    Festina lentē,
    Jessica P

    SY2019-2020 · 8th MP Year
    @ Home, HLN, & MPOA
    S · 10th, MPOA Henle 3
    D · 8th
    D · 5th
    S · 2nd

    Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School

    Comment


      #3
      On the one hand there are so many children that can benefit from this education yet will never have access to it in any way due to finances.

      On the other hand, there are families who can afford the education yet need support in it and will never be able to afford $300+ per class or $2,000 a year per child.

      I’ve lived nearly my entire life under or just above the federal poverty level. If the money isn’t there to begin with, it doesn’t matter how great a value something is, you know?
      Jennifer
      Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

      2019-2020 Plans:

      DS16
      MP10 Lit, MP-Holt Biology, Light to the Nations II, Spanish
      MPOA: Algebra I, High School Comp II

      DS15
      As above, plus:
      MP Greek Tragedies; no Spanish
      MPOA: Fourth Form Latin

      DS12: 7M subbing Sea to Shining Sea for American history

      DS11: Simply Classical Level 4

      DD9: 3A, with First Form Latin (long story!)

      DD7/8: Simply Classical Level 3

      DD 4/5: Simply Classical Level C (NT using SC for two-year PreK due to January birthday)

      Comment


        #4
        My husband suggested a sliding-fee scale but that would require a guaranteed baseline for teacher salaries. Another option might be that families who couldn’t afford tuition could receive free enrollment by teaching? Just thinking out loud...
        Jennifer
        Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

        2019-2020 Plans:

        DS16
        MP10 Lit, MP-Holt Biology, Light to the Nations II, Spanish
        MPOA: Algebra I, High School Comp II

        DS15
        As above, plus:
        MP Greek Tragedies; no Spanish
        MPOA: Fourth Form Latin

        DS12: 7M subbing Sea to Shining Sea for American history

        DS11: Simply Classical Level 4

        DD9: 3A, with First Form Latin (long story!)

        DD7/8: Simply Classical Level 3

        DD 4/5: Simply Classical Level C (NT using SC for two-year PreK due to January birthday)

        Comment


          #5
          Yes, I do hear your heart to provide something that is otherwise unavailable. That is a good desire! To do that you truly would have to have a benefactor(s) and that is possible, though it's harder to find and would be hard to sustain. They would have to be willing and able for the long haul. They would have to be completely on board with the curriculum and there would have to be some way to figure out who gets in and who doesn't. Demand would likely outstrip supply for an awesome free education.

          Perhaps a parish would like to subsidize a school for it's own kids? If you have no tuition, but everyone must contribute talent/teach, then that's a co-op and that is a perfectly good way to get the teaching taken care of. You are just limited to the talents of the parents. If all the parents are willing to prepare diligently (likely moms AND dads) and everyone holds up their end of the bargain, it can really work well. It would also fluctuate year to year as people come and go. Especially as you get into the higher levels and are actually coaching skills like writing papers and upper math, you have to have people who HAVE those skills to teach them. I listened to a great Commons podcast that Brian Phillips did recently with Jennifer Dow (you can find it on Stitcher or iTunes) about varieties of co-ops. My friend that coaches people on starting up co-ops and tutorials is Jamie Buckland. You can find her online easily. Neither of them do MP, but the business principles are the same and they are both classical in focus. Jamie talks about "at-cost" tutorials.

          Another note, you don't have to use our prices by any stretch. We charge what is reasonable based on being in a big city and our expenses. We are not subsidized in any way--we run our school 100% on tuition. Other schools have free rent, or as I mentioned before, have state subsidies that families can spend. You have to work within the parameters of your area and its laws. We set our fees to cover our costs. We initially planed to use the Spring Meadows' prices but found they were too low for what we needed to charge. Because they are at big HLS there were expenses we had that they did not. If you could find (and I think prayer is really the only way this happens) someone/some entity to cover the pay for teachers, then you would have very few costs. If you met at a church, they could include you in their umbrella policy. You could do your own books/W-2s/state filings, etc. The organizers could work for free. Another consideration would be materials. Again--while a good value, they are not free and would have to come from somewhere.

          I admire you--this is a noble undertaking to even consider. It IS crazy, but in the best possible way.
          Last edited by pickandgrin; 01-27-2019, 01:26 PM.
          Festina lentē,
          Jessica P

          SY2019-2020 · 8th MP Year
          @ Home, HLN, & MPOA
          S · 10th, MPOA Henle 3
          D · 8th
          D · 5th
          S · 2nd

          Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School

          Comment


            #6
            You've shared some good thoughts to consider! With our mini co-op growing a bit, but many families limited by finances, this long-time question has been on my mind more lately.

            We'll see where God leads...just want to have some knowledge of options as we follow along!
            Jennifer
            Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

            2019-2020 Plans:

            DS16
            MP10 Lit, MP-Holt Biology, Light to the Nations II, Spanish
            MPOA: Algebra I, High School Comp II

            DS15
            As above, plus:
            MP Greek Tragedies; no Spanish
            MPOA: Fourth Form Latin

            DS12: 7M subbing Sea to Shining Sea for American history

            DS11: Simply Classical Level 4

            DD9: 3A, with First Form Latin (long story!)

            DD7/8: Simply Classical Level 3

            DD 4/5: Simply Classical Level C (NT using SC for two-year PreK due to January birthday)

            Comment


              #7
              And if you have committed families, maybe meet one night and put your heads together and pray. God is all about making ways where there is no way. That's sort of His style.
              Festina lentē,
              Jessica P

              SY2019-2020 · 8th MP Year
              @ Home, HLN, & MPOA
              S · 10th, MPOA Henle 3
              D · 8th
              D · 5th
              S · 2nd

              Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School

              Comment


                #8
                My experience locally here in Michigan is we don’t have vouchers for private/parochial schools due to the state Supreme Court ruling them unconstitutional. Some local districts have tried to work the system by offering community resource classes in order to tap the state student allotment for homeschoolers. There is one large, multi-campus entity that works with a couple of districts making it nearly free to take their classes if you enroll with the district. It does attract some from overall lower income areas, but overall it pulls in a bunch of kids whose parents don’t want public school but also don’t really want to homeschool. It has turned into a massive glorified free babysitting situation where the parents don’t enforce doing the homework thereby ruining the class for everyone. My experience as AHG treasurer with events is that if it is free, people will sign up, but not show up at the last minute if it doesn’t work for them. We have been discouraged from making the cost free for needy families...we are encouraged to offer discounts, extra fundraising options, volunteer commitments, payment plans so they have a stake in the troop and so they don’t feel like they are just a charity case.

                I think the moral is when people don’t have “skin in the game” be it money or time, they won’t see it as valuable resource and worthy of their commitment.
                Dorinda

                For 2019-2020
                DD 16 - 11th with MPOA(AP Latin), Lukeion (Greek4 & Adv. NT Greek), Thinkwell (Economics and Chemistry), plus Pre-Calculus, American G’ment, Early Church History set, and British Lit
                DS 14 - 8th with MPOA(Fourth Form), CLRC(Intro Lit and Comp), plus Algebra, Field Biology, Classical Studies 1
                DS 11 - 6th with Right Start Level G online class
                DS 6 - 1st with Prima Latina

                Comment


                  #9
                  The co-op we go to for enrichment is a tightly run ship that draws families from all over our MSA. There are over 200 kids attending classes. To keep costs down, they require all families to work 16 hours per semester your first semester. Every semester after that, you can either work 16 hours or buy out your hours at $50/4 hour shift. You can sign up for 4-hour shifts, which are things like hall monitor, break room monitor, etc., or for a 1-hour shift/day, which typically means working as a teacher's assistant for the whole semester for one class. Then, moms who want to work extra to help pay for the co-op classes can work as subs and pick up extra hours at $12.50/hour. Also, built into their model is free child care for those working shifts--so a parent could easily make enough to pay for the co-op by picking up extra shifts and not have additional childcare costs. This setup keeps the costs really low. Registration is around $60 I think for two kids per semester, and classes range in cost from $60-$180 per semester (P.E. on the low end; longer art classes, science labs, and high school classes on the high end). They allow 1 study hall/break room/play room per semester for free; any additional hour in these spaces costs $25/semester. My son has two hours each week in the playroom with other 4-6 year olds, and it is only costing me $25 for the whole semester! He gets extra socializing and break from his art, music, and other enrichment classes, and I get really cheap babysitting. Talk about a deal!

                  Michaela
                  Daughter: Age 11 MP 6A (MPOA for TFL, 6th grade math, and composition)
                  Son: Age 6 1st Grade MP Traditional Spelling, Literature, Math, and Handwriting
                  for 2019/2020 school year

                  Comment

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