Little Compton schools seeking out-of-town students to pay for access to small classes

Little Compton will soon begin advertising in local newspapers, seeking students from outside the district to enroll in schools within the town for $6,000 a year. (WJAR)

Little Compton’s school age population is shrinking.

It already ships its high school students to Portsmouth, and the elementary and middle school population has dropped from 348 pupils in 2001 to 241 this year.

The remaining students benefit from an average classroom size of 14.

But administrators worry that there won’t be enough students in the future to maintain the school.

That’s why it will begin advertising in local newspapers for students from outside the district to enroll in Little Compton schools for $6,000 a year.

“We’re not trying to fill up every classroom to the max, but if we’re running a class with 14 or 15 kids, we’re willing to take a couple of kids at each of the grade levels,” School Superintendent Dr. Robert Power told NBC 10 News.

Power said education quality will not be affected, but the extra money will help keep up the quality of equipment and teaching.

School Committee Chairman Patrick McHugh is conscious of the declining student population, and believes this is a good solution.

“I don’t see a downside,” McHugh said. “It keeps our school robust. This is really the heart of the community. And if we are having enrollment issues like a lot of schools are, I feel we need to do everything we can to fill empty seats here. And if we didn’t have empty seats, we wouldn’t be talking about this right now. “

He went on to note that there won’t be any strain on the system.

“We don’t have to hire teachers. We don’t have to hire staff. We don’t have to hire administration. We don’t have to hire a nurse. Don’t have to do anything,” McHugh said. “All we have to do is put the body in the seat.”

Currently, one student from out of town is enrolled in the Little Compton school.

Newspaper ads will start soon, recruiting additional students for next year.

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