Parents of kids in Brighton-area private schools will soon reap the benefits of the taxes they pay into the public school system, thanks to a shared services time program set to begin this fall.
In shared time services, Brighton Area Schools will send teachers to teach elective classes part-time at private schools, including , , and
According to school officials, the private schools save money on hiring staff, and the public schools make money, because the children taught are counted as public school students. The district's state funding depends on the amount of students they have, so more students means more revenue for Brighton Area Schools.
Private school administrators have been calling the partnership a win-win situation, but the benefits extend to kids and parents too.
"It sounded like a wonderful opportunity for two reasons, of course, to have the children to have the opportunity for some of the specialized classes we don't offer, and also for the parents ... they can see they are getting some benefits for the school taxes they pay in addition to their private school tuition," said Patricia Sue Cherry, director of Maple Tree Montessori Academy.
Cherry said that the shared time services program will add or supplement existing physical education, computers, foreign language, art and music classes at Maple Tree. The other private schools plan on bringing in teachers for these electives too.
Private school administrators said they wouldn't be laying off any teachers as a result of the program. And because the shared time services teachers are only permitted to teach in non-core elective areas, there hasn't been concern about teachers with differing philosophies in the private schools.
"In my experience I have not had a problem with a shared time teacher coming in not ... respecting the philosophies of the school," said Jeanine Kenny, the principal at St. Patrick, who worked at a private school in Garden City that implemented the program.
Jack Pelon, owner of School Financial Solutions, is coordinating the partnership. He has helped initiate shared time services in Novi and Plymouth-Canton, as well as Garden City, where he worked with Kenny before.
The Brighton Board of Education last month. Pelon is still finalizing the details for the other schools, in terms of how many teachers will be employed, how long they'll teach and how much they'll be paid.