View Full Version : BK-All Some Brooklyn Private Schools Buck Trend Of High Costs

01-17-2012, 09:11 AM
From WSJ.com (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204555904577164970698524812.html) by Sophia Hollander:
In an age of private school educations that cost up to $40,000 a year, eight new or expanding Brooklyn schools are attracting attention with a simple appeal: lower tuition.

These schools charge a range of annual prices—from nothing for some low-income students to as much as $23,000 at the most expensive end—that they say draws a more diverse student body. The schools also tend to feature progressive education styles, a commitment to engaging with their local neighborhoods and an international flair.

"From the very beginning we made the conscious choice to keep our tuition low so we could be a real choice to the public schools as well as other private schools," said Amy Warden, the head of school at Williamsburg Northside, which opened an elementary school in 2009 and charges $21,850.

The lower-cost Brooklyn schools have substantially more diverse student bodies, though administrators cautioned that they also defined diversity to include socio-economic status and international backgrounds.

Some parents who might have considered more established—and expensive—private schools in previous years said the lower tuitions created more interesting classrooms.

"It's not just lower-income working-class families that are priced out of these places, it's also very important facets of society—like people who are in nonprofits, working for democracy across the globe or creative people," said Julio Salcedo, an architect and associate professor at City College whose two children are enrolled in the International School of Brooklyn. Tuition at the Carroll Gardens school, which plans to launch a middle school next year, is $19,760.

Mr. Salcedo, who was born in Spain, wanted a language-immersion program for his children that included Spanish. The International School of Brooklyn offered the program at a fraction of the cost of the most elite private schools. Now the family attends international feasts hosted by the school, where parents prepare dishes from their home countries.

Maintaining lower tuition requires creative planning, a slimmed-down administrative staff, savvy choices about where to invest funds and support from an active parent body, which helps with everything from building playgrounds to reviewing budgets, administrators said.

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