Our Towns, Our School
Welcome to our page of documents related to our request for the supplemental tuition we need to operate GSA. Here, we share links to financial documents, minutes from meetings of the Secondary Education Financial Planning Advisory Committee (a committee comprised of GSA trustees and select and school board members from our sending towns working to secure adequate funding for GSA), and other documents of interest. We hope you find this information helpful. Please contact Head of School Tim Seeley at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.
Tuition Request Background
Most of GSA’s local students—and the bulk of our revenue—come from seven towns: Blue Hill, Brooklin, Brooksville, Castine, Penobscot, Sedgwick, and Surry. These towns have for many decades opted to allow their families to exercise choice about where their children attend high school. Throughout those decades, the great majority of families have chosen GSA. The academy bills each town for tuition for the students who attend, and the town pays that tuition out of the town school budget. The tuition rate is set by the Maine Department of Education. For many decades, that rate has been well below what it actually costs to educate a high school student in Hancock County. In the 2018-19 school year, the last year for which the Maine DOE has published data, the average cost per student was more than $18,000. The state-set tuition for schools like GSA was less than $12,000 for each student. Our cost per student was just under $14,000.
For more than ten years, the boarding program at GSA generated enough excess revenue to cover the gap between the state-set tuition and what it actually cost to educate high school students in Maine. Beginning in 2019-2020, due to international conditions, that program could no longer do so. We began facing budget shortfalls well beyond what we could manage through expense efficiencies. Although as an independent school we are able to raise money, and we do so well, it is not enough to replace the boarding program revenue. The only alternatives available to us are to cut student programs drastically or to increase revenue. We believe our communities desire us to continue to serve well all the students on the peninsula, which means that reducing costs drastically is not an option. We are working on raising revenue in all sorts of ways, but there is no way to preserve the academy without higher tuition for each local student. And that is why we are asking for a higher tuition—so we can continue to provide programs to meet the needs of every student in our sending towns.
For understandable reasons, the taxpayers in our towns have said that in order to be comfortable paying a slightly higher tuition, they would like greater involvement with our Board of Trustees, as well as more information on our finances. We are working with our town officials on the above-mentioned committee to create a mechanism for town-appointed trustees to join our board, and below we have shared all the financial documents requested, and more.
We also have been asked specific questions about how we have reduced expenses, the state of the boarding program, local enrollment trends, why GSA is worthy of more support, and other issues, and there is information on all that below as well.
Please look through the documents below, and contact us with questions.
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This document answers many of the questions frequently asked about our tuition request, the cost of a GSA education, the academy's finances, and related topics.
Supplemental Tuition Request Letter for 22-23 academic year (9/24/21)
This is Board Chair Sally Mills' letter to the town school board chairs formally requesting higher tuition.
This document explains how GSA's request relates to the state-set tuition, known as the MAT.
This document explains how public schools and GSA are funded, and it puts our request in context of the town elementary school budgets.
This document shows how our faculty salaries compare to those at other local schools.
This document catalogues expense reductions we have achieved over the past few years.
This document explains the history of the boarding program, where it stands today, and our hopes for the future. It also tells how we are currently using our dorms, and it has information on the state of boarding programs at other Maine town academies.
This document gives a five-year history of ninth-grade admissions to GSA and explains work we are doing to enhance our local admissions.
This document presents a high-level overview of all we do, with an emphasis on distinctive and noteworthy features of our program, and has links to an overview of our academic departments, other features of the academic program, and the full Program of Studies.
These charts summarize our revenues and expenses the last two years.
Financial Documents Archive
GSA Administration Overview (11/17/20)
GSA Costs v Other Maine High Schools (11/17/20)
2019/2020 Treasurer's Report (11/17/20)
2019/20 Revenue & Expenses (charts) (11/17/20)
Board Letter to Alumni & Friends (2/13/21)
Letter from Board Chair Sally Mills (9/30/20)
Letter from Head of School Tim Seeley (9/30/20)
FPAC Meeting Minutes (formerly SEFPAC)