FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MARCH 23, 2017
Group Releases Plan for $350 Million in Taxpayer Savings
Burlington, VT – Campaign for Vermont Prosperity (CFV), a non-partisan advocacy and policy development group, today released a plan that could save property taxpayers as much as $350 million per year.
“It is no secret that Vermont is losing students,” said Ben Kinsley, CFV Executive Director. Vermont has lost nearly 20,000 students since 1998 and Agency of Education projections indicate that the trend is likely to continue. “Traditional thinking has been that we have excess administrative overhead in our school systems,” said Kinsley, “but perhaps we are thinking about it the wrong way.” Campaign for Vermont’s plan looks at these challenges as excess capacity instead of excessive administrative overhead.
“Excess capacity in Vermont’s rural public schools could easily be met with the rapidly growing demand for access to American educational systems around the globe,” said Asher Crispe, technology futurist and co-author of the report. Over 80,000 students from China alone attend schools in the United States every year. This is a tenfold increase from 2008. Educating international students is nothing new for private schools, but the real innovation is that public schools – including some in Vermont – are now beginning to accept international students in similar fashion, with tuition dollars attached.
“This is the new trend,” said Crispe, “rural public schools around the country are using this as a mechanism to address declining student populations. Vermont is well-positioned to be on the leading edge of this wave.” Vermont schools rank well compared to other states and even other countries and offer small class sizes which could be useful selling points in attracting international students.
“Filling just half of our excess capacity could bring $350 million into the state, rivaling the ski industry for direct economic impact,” said Kinsley, “an infusion of international students would diversify our student populations, introduce new revenue, and create more educational opportunities for our Vermont students.”
Campaign for Vermont is advocating for the creation of a statewide recruitment and placement program for international students to fill excess capacity in rural Vermont schools. Infrastructure to implement such a plan is already in place; a number of non-profit organizations operating in the state recruit students internationally. You can read the full report at CampaignForVermont.org/ReEnergizingVTEducation.