Tuition Questions & Answers

  • Each one of the six separate school districts in the West Plains area shares one goal: providing the best education possible for our children. Each district strives to offer students the very best throughout their educational careers. Our community works tirelessly to benefit our children; working together will make our community prosper.  There have been many questions regarding changes in tuition for students who attend West Plains High School but who live in another school district. Answers to some of the questions follow:

  • Why Does the West Plains School District Charge Tuition?

    Posted by:

    It is important to understand why West Plains charges tuition to reimburse the cost of educating students from the area K-8 districts.  West Plains does not receive any state, county or local funding for high school, K-8, students.  The local K-8 school receives all local, county and state funds to educate the 9-12 students in their district.  The K-8 constituents pay taxes to educate all of their students, not just the students currently in their buildings.   All funding generated by a K-8 student is received by the K-8 district to be used to pay tuition for the student to attend a local high school. 

    Missouri statute number 167.131 states that school districts that do not maintain a high school through 12th grade shall pay tuition and transportation to the students’ high school of choice. Since the area K-8 districts don’t maintain high schools, they pay tuition - a portion of the total of taxpayers’ money they receive - to cover the cost of a high school education and transportation for their resident students. 

    Comments (-1)
  • Why is the current tuition rate being reviewed?

    Posted by:

    In the spring of 2019, the West Plains School District began the process of developing a current strategic plan, known as a Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (CSIP). The CSIP committee was a dedicated group of over 30 community leaders, students, parents, and staff working together for our students' future. This process includes defining broad categories of focus such as Technology, Early Childhood, Academic Improvement etc.  The individuals developing the district’s strategic plan also included Finance as a broad category.  Each category was further developed by a committee assigned specifically to that topic. One of the primary objectives within this category was to review and analyze the district’s tuition rate.   

    Comments (-1)
  • How is Funding Calculated?

    Posted by:

    Funding for all public schools is a combination of local, state and federal money. Local funding for every school is determined by their assessed valuation. The amount of local revenue varies by each district according to their individual tax levy.  Districts that have a higher tax levy will receive a higher amount of local funding and districts with a lower tax levy will receive a lower amount of local funding.  The lowest tax levy in our area is $2.75 with one of the highest set at $4.03.  The state’s targeted local tax rate is $3.43 and will calculate state aid based on $3.43.  The state will not compensate for the difference in funding if the actual local  tax rate is below this amount.  

    The 2020-21 state funding is determined by the district’s weighted average daily attendance (WADA), the state adequacy target of $6,375 and Proposition C of $1,003.03.  All schools also receive Classroom Trust Fund money of $327.31 per average daily attendance.  All schools receive federal funds, for which they qualify, for programs such as Title, Special Education, school breakfast and lunch programs, etc.

    Comments (-1)
  • What is the West Plains School District Funding per student for this year?

    Posted by:

    The funding per student is $9,155.63 based on a calculation using average daily attendance.  This does not include various funding sources such as transportation, federal funding, etc. This information is public but the calculation takes some effort. The district chose to use average daily attendance for its calculation.  It is recommended that those who have questions regarding a specific district’s funding talk directly to officials with the district.

    Comments (-1)
  • How much does it cost to educate a student at West Plains High School?

    Posted by:

    The current cost to educate a West Plains High School student is approximately $9,723.45 per student.

    Comments (-1)
  • How much is tuition for non-resident high school students?

    Posted by:

    The current tuition rate is $8,108.65, which is $1,614.80 less than the cost of education. With 488 K-8 students in the West Plains High School that’s a deficit of $788,000 that the district manages to cover with budgeting and cutting programs and services for all students.

    Over a nine year span, the average increase in tuition has been approximately 2% per year.  In order to mitigate the revenue deficit that has been absorbed by the West Plans School District, tuition for the 2021-2022 school year will increase by 5%, which raises the per student cost of tuition by $405 to a rate of $8,514.  During the next five years, the plan is to increase the rate by approximately 5% each year to phase in the adjustment, allowing time for K-8s to budget for the gradual increase.

    Comments (-1)
  • How is Tuition Calculated:

    Posted by:

    Missouri statute 167.131 specifies that “tuition will be the per pupil cost of maintaining the district's grade level grouping which shall be determined by dividing the cost of maintaining the grade level grouping by the average daily pupil attendance. The guidelines for determining the total cost includes all amounts spent for teachers' wages, incidental purposes, debt service, maintenance and replacements.”

    Comments (-1)
  • A Final Note

    Posted by:

    This system gives students who attend a K-8 district a choice of where they go to high school. Generations of Fairview Flyers, Glenwood Mustangs, Junction Hill Hornets, Howell Valley Panthers and Richards Rockets have chosen to join their friends in the West Plains district as they all become West Plains High School Zizzers. As the largest area high school, WPHS offers a wide array of educational options to its students, allowing choices during high school and for future career paths.

    The size of the student body creates opportunities for all, and leads to cost efficiencies as well, since the larger number of students attending the school drives down the overall cost per student. Simply put, the more students who choose to be a Zizzer, the more opportunities WPHS can offer at a lower cost for all. The size and cost efficiencies provide area students with an excellent education and represent a good value for taxpayers too.

    Comments (-1)