Garrison, Haldane Reach Interim Agreement

Will extend current tuition rate for 2023-24

The Class of 2023 at the Garrison School will be able to attend Haldane High School under an agreement reached between the two districts, although whether the choice will be available for eighth graders beyond that remains uncertain.

Garrison educates students through the eighth grade, after which it pays tuition for those who attend Haldane in Cold Spring or O’Neill High School in Highlands Falls.

However, a budget crunch and a proposed tuition hike by Haldane have compelled Garrison to reconsider how much it pays. The district has a five-year deal with O’Neill at a rate of $16,500 annually per student, which can increase at 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less, said Garrison Superintendent Carl Albano. 

Haldane had been charging Garrison less than it could under a state formula for non-resident tuition. Last year it proposed raising the fee in 2022-23 to the maximum, or about $21,500 annually.

When Garrison balked, Haldane agreed to a four-year deal to charge $16,500 annually for each of the 53 Garrison students attending the high school so they would not have to switch schools. 

The districts have not been able to come to terms on a rate going forward but this week agreed to apply the $16,500 rate for eighth graders who graduate from Garrison next June. In the meantime, Albano said, the districts will negotiate a longer-term agreement.

To ensure that Garrison students continue to have a choice of at least two high schools, the district reached a tentative agreement with Putnam Valley High School to pay the same rate in place for O’Neill, Albano said. He said the school board will vote later this month on whether to add Putnam Valley as an option for graduating students. 

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