Stories of 2019: Rindge studies school district split

  • An aerial view of Jaffrey from Conant High School. Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • An aerial view of Jaffrey from Conant High School. Staff photo by Ben Conant

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 1/1/2020 10:04:44 PM
Modified: 1/1/2020 10:04:24 PM

The Jaffrey-Rindge Cooperative District is staying together after a committee studied the possibility of Rindge withdrawing from the district for several months.

In March, a group of Rindge citizens petitioned to add an article to the town’s warrant, asking for a study on “the feasibility and suitability of a plan for dissolution” of the Jaffrey-Rindge School District. Rindge voters approved the article, and the school district formed a committee to look at the issue. 

The town of Rindge has previously expressed dissatisfaction with how the district is funded, alleging the apportionment formula is imbalanced in Jaffrey’s favor. Currently, the formula is based half on the student population from each town, and half on property value. In 2018, Rindge attempted to make the formula solely based on the student population, but the warrant article failed to pass.

The committee considered the cost of educating the Rindge population at its elementary school, and tuitioning older students out of the district. 

However, the committee ultimately concluded that after factoring in paying off Rindge’s portion of the district’s debt, refunding the district for work done to the Rindge Memorial School, and providing transport costs, that it was more expensive to separate from the district, and the educational benefits to Rindge students were not significant enough to justify the cost.

According to the committee’s analysis, in the first year, the cost per student to withdraw from the district would be approximately $34,538, compared to the $19,198 to stay with the district.

The study looked at the potential cost per student over 15 years, and while numbers fluctuated, at no point was it cheaper to withdraw, costing on average $10,000 to $15,000 more annually per student. 

While the committee mainly focused on the cost of separation, Conant High School Principal Brett Blanchard noted to the committee in a letter that the separation would also have a negative impact on the students left at the high school, dropping student numbers to the point it would be difficult to maintain activities such as school sports, band and drama, as well as some of the district’s academic offerings. 

Following the completion of its analysis, the committee voted unanimously to recommend against Rindge separating from the district.


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