An interesting off-topic thread under a Wayland Town Crier article addressed the question of what it costs Wayland taxpayers to educate non-Wayland residents. There are two such groups of students: Boston-based METCO students and children of teachers (the latter whom we educate as part of our teacher contract).

Here's my unofficial estimate of what it costs Wayland to educate these children. First, it's worth a reminder about three types of costs that we bear. Some spending is fixed and doesn't vary with the number of students: administrator salary, heat, and debt/interest payments are examples. Some spending is quasi-fixed: teacher salary being by far the biggest example, in that adding a student doesn't necessarily (and in fact infrequently) requires the addition of a teacher. And some spending is truly variable: think materials and supplies.

METCO students are funded by money from the state. This money covers Wayland-based METCO staff members, transportation, and roughly $1k per student to pay for materials, supplies, and other costs. METCO cost to Wayland residents, therefore, depends on whether we need to add teachers or other staff members to support them.

For the purpose of estimating added teacher cost, if any, it's worth adding the children of teachers to the conversation. If the 130 or so METCO students and 25 or so children of teachers were grouped in seven classes of 22-23 students each, they would trigger the hiring of seven teachers. Because these students are instead spread over 13 grades, however, they don't necessarily trigger such hiring. Whether they trigger any hiring depends on exactly what grades they are in, and by my estimate, probably ranges from 0 in some years to 1 in other years to perhaps 2 in a few years.

If we use 1 added teacher as an average (probably high), our cost is the average teacher salary of about $75k plus perhaps 10% for health insurance for a total of about $85k (to round up to a convenient number). Note that teacher pension costs are paid out of teacher salaries, so pension costs don't need to be added. At a public forum within the last few years, we heard that special education services for METCO students are performed by the same staff that we'd have to serve Wayland residents, so there's generally no cost added there, but should there be any such cost, we'll include it in the two "rounding ups" that I did (1 added teacher being high, and rounding to $85k) plus the $1k per student that we get from METCO.

Materials and supplies for METCO students are also covered by the $1k, so there's no charge there. However, we need to cover materials and supplies for children of teachers. $1k is probably high, but let's use that number, adding another $25k.

In sum, then, Wayland taxpayers pay on the order of $110k for the education of roughly 155 non-Wayland residents. What do we get for this expenditure? In my opinion, the relatively small amount that Wayland spends on METCO students and children of teachers is money well spent: among other things, it serves a social good, creates diversity, and further strengthens the connection that our teachers have with our children and our community.


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