The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice

Advancing Milton and Rose D. Friedman's Vision of School Choice for All Children

Vermont - Town Tuitioning Program

Launched 1869 • Voucher

Many towns in Vermont, particularly in rural areas, do not operate public high schools and/or elementary schools. Students in those towns may use public dollars to attend any public or approved independent (private), non-religious school in or outside of Vermont. The “tuitioning” towns pay tuition directly to the “receiving” schools. For 2013-14, tuition amounts equal $11,703 for grades K-6 and $13,084 for grades 7-12. Although most tuitioning towns allow parents to choose which schools will receive their students, some towns send all their students to one school.

Latest Stats (2013-14)

  • Students participating: 2,608
  • Schools participating: 100
  • Average voucher value: $14,055

Program Details

Student Funding
When students are tuitioned at public schools, the sending town pays the receiving school district an amount equal to the receiving district’s average per-pupil costs, as calculated by the Vermont Agency of Education. When students are tuitioned at private schools, the voucher is worth up to the average announced tuition for Vermont public schools, calculated each year by the state, or the private school’s tuition (whichever is less). That figure is calculated separately for grades K-6, 7-8, and 9-12.

Student Eligibility
Students must live in Vermont and reside in an identified tuition town.

Legal Developments
In 1961, Vermont’s Supreme Court ruled that including religious schools in the Town Tuitioning Program first established in 1869 violated the First Amendment. In 1994, the Vermont Supreme Court overturned this decision, but the Vermont Department of Education refused to allow parents to choose religious schools. In 1999, the Vermont Supreme Court again barred religious schools from participating, this time under the state constitution. Chittenden Town School Dist. v. Dept. of Education, (97-275); 169 Vt. 310; 738 A.2d 539.

Rules & Regulations
• Income Limit: None
• Prior Year Public School Requirement: None
• Geographic Limit: District (without elementary or high school)
• Enrollment Cap: None
• Voucher Cap: Conditional
• Testing Mandates: None

Governing Statutes
16 V.S.A. §§ 821-36

Friedman Contact
Robbie Rhinesmith | robbie@edchoice.org

Related Research

2/5/2008 Grading School Choice: Evaluating School Choice Programs by the Friedman Gold Standard
10/1/2005 Using School Choice: Analyzing How Parents Access Educational Freedom
1/1/2003 Grading Vouchers: Ranking America’s School Choice Programs
1/1/2002 The Effects of Town Tuitioning in Maine and Vermont

Related News

3/12/2014 National Review Online | Choosing to Learn
1/23/2014 U.S. voucher, school choice enrollment reaches record high
8/15/2013 Sharing your story in “The ABCs” can be as easy as one, two, three
1/23/2013 “The ABCs of School Choice,” 2013 Edition, Now Available
2/22/2012 Rutland Herald | The School Choice Plot

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