Request To Waive Tuition Denied

Posted: February 20, 1992

Peter Ciotoli is glad to be moving his family back into the area, but he didn't exactly get the welcome he had hoped for from the Downingtown school board.

Five years ago, Ciotoli's job with a local environmental consulting firm transferred him to Virginia. Now, that job has transferred him back.

As the Ciotoli family awaited completion of a house being built in West Bradford, the only home Ciotoli could find to lease in the interim was in Exton, which lies within the West Chester Area School District.

Despite that, Ciotoli was hoping to send his two children to schools near their new home in the Downingtown district.

Ciotolli had asked the board to waive tuition.

"We were fortunate to find a house in Exton, but unfortunately, it was on the wrong side of the road and in the West Chester School District," Ciotoli told the board at its meeting last week.

By a 6-3 vote, the board denied Ciotoli's request. Essentially, the board said pay up or put the children in West Chester schools.

"We're upholding our policy, that any nonresident students will be charged tuition," Board President Norma Smith said after the meeting.

That would mean that Ciotoli's two children - ages 9 and 12 - would each be charged $20.41 per day to attend school in Downingtown. Were the family to move into their new house on May 1 as anticipated, the total tuition payment for his children would be roughly $2,000.

According to Ciotoli, that didn't leave him any options.

"I guess I'll have them go to West Chester because I'm tapped out," he said. "We hadn't anticipated this and we hadn't budgeted for it. I thought it was a reasonable request. So this just makes the transition more difficult."

Board members Barbara Kenna, Andrew Harden and Richard Barringer also thought it was reasonable and voted in favor of waiving the tuition.

"Everyone's having tough times and the school district is, too, but these are people who will be in our school district and it seemed to me we could give in," Kenna said. "I think it would have been the appropriate thing to do, and I was a little embarrassed we didn't."

In other business, the board voted to add an advanced-placement course in U.S. history to the high school curriculum next year. Other advanced-placement courses already being taught in the school include calculus, biology and English.

Within the next five years, the district plans to add physics, computer science and foreign languages to its advanced-placement curriculum.

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