Florence school district consider raising tuition for out-of-district students

FSD1 Tuition Increase Proposal

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - Florence One school district leaders are considering a proposal to raise tuition for out-of-district students.

Florence One School District Superintendent Dr. Richard O’Malley said he recommended raising out-of-district tuition to put more funds back into the school district.

But the proposal has caused quite a stir for people in the community with some parents saying the increase is too much.

"It’s not like we’re denying them an education. They choose to leave their current school to come and afford their child a better education so we think there’s a market value to that,” O’Malley said.

This school year, out-of-district families paid around $550 for their students.

Based on a state law formula, O’Malley said the school district could charge the recommended $3,585 per student.

"$3,000 divide it by 180 days you're talking about $16 a day. I don't know where you're going to go and get the kind of education like here in Florence One for $16 a day," O’Malley said.

There are currently 153 students, who live outside of the school district, who are required to pay the fee. Another 96 out-of-district students are children of district employees. Their fees are waived.

Annie Joyner, who lives in Timmonsville, said she had to pay out-of-district tuition for her son who’s now a graduate of Florence One Schools.

“He had more opportunities. He was allowed to join in fire department classes at the high school, which is something that he does now,” Joyner said.

Joyner said this year she paid around $500 for her daughter to continue attending South Florence High School. However, she said that may not be possible come next school year with the proposed increase.

"I don't think that it's fair for us to have to pay that ridiculous amount for them to get such a good education," Joyner said.

However, O'Malley said providing quality education is the main reason for the tuition raise.

If 153 students had to pay the recommended amount, that would total more than $500,000 to go toward faculty and staff raises or even school improvements.

"This will give us that opportunity to take that money and award the people that make our school district a comprehensive good school district,” O’Malley said.

The school board will vote on the tuition increase Thursday at its regular meeting.

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