PEABODY — In an era of tight budgets, officials have to use innovative measures just to keep up.
Which explains Superintendent Joseph Mastrocola’s new plan — charge the students.
No, that doesn’t mean new bills for Peabody parents. Instead, Mastrocola hopes to contract students from foreign countries to attend Peabody High School through an organization called Educatius International. It’s a policy he put in place via the same outfit as superintendent at Groton-Dunstable before leaving that system to return here.
The influx of students would perform a double benefit, he said. “It allows us to bring a more global focus to our high school” in addition to the much-needed revenue.
In other words, Peabody students would have an opportunity to learn about the culture and lifestyles of their new classmates, an important plus in a 21st century of shrinking distances.
At Groton-Dunstable, Matsrocola said, the policy reaped up to $175,000.
“Being a school administrator is about entrepreneurship and being able to find alternate sources of revenue,” he said.
The students here could be expected to pay up to $12,000 per year.
The School Committee heard from Mastrocola and a representative of Educatius International at the last meeting before voting to take preliminary steps toward adopting the plan.
Member Dave McGeney was not at the meeting, but he likes what he’s heard about the policy.
“It’s good,” he said, before noting, “Peabody schools are usually late to the game on a lot of these things.”
In this case, the city would be on the cutting edge.
“I like these kinds of innovative ideas,” McGeney said.
Steven Jenkins, a former superintendent in Winthrop, represented Boston-based Educatius International before the committee. He explains that the company helps schools across the country connect with students from places as far-flung as Brazil, Italy, Germany and Thailand. As many as 20 schools in Massachusetts currently participate. Most active is Arlington High School, with 24 placements.