2006-09-07 / Letters to the Editor

Concerns about students as paying customers

I read with some dismay and real concern the article in the Aug. 31 edition of the Press about the Jamestown School accepting paying students from surrounding communities. In particular, I was concerned about the example that Dr. Power utilized, St. Michael's School.

As a former Jamestown resident who sent two children to St. Michael's, I find it rather interesting that a significant number of Jamestown children have attended, and continue to

attend, St. Michael's despite the "terrific" system in Jamestown. It hardly seems logical that a significant number of people will find the Jamestown School so attractive as to eschew the currently available alternatives to public education in the area.

Moreover, as one still contributing to St. Michael's School in thanks for the superior education my two children received there, I am aware of the dedication and financial

sacrifice that this rather small St. Michael's community has made and continues to make to ensure that the quality of education available at St. Michael's remains at the current high level, all the while planning to improve the St. Michael's experience for future generations.

It seems to me that for the Jamestown School to be competitive with a St. Michael's or a Rocky Hill, for example, the cash flow will not be positive. Filling

empty spaces with paying "customers" somehow seems to make Jamestown kids second fiddle to those who can choose to attend for a price. What will happen when the "paying customers" want more than the school offers? Will their tuition increase to cover the added expense or will Jamestown taxes increase to keep this quasi-private enterprise competitive?

Quality education comes at a high price and the higher the quality, the higher the

price. Jamestowners might well think hard about the ramifications of using the taxpayers of the town as a substitute for the endowment funds of the school(s) that Dr. Power considers the competition. St. Michael's School successfully completed a five million dollar capital campaign to modernize their ageing facilities. Does Jamestown want to enter this competition?

William H. Ashton Jr.

North, Va.

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