Lexington educates 243 METCO students, representing 7.4% of all 3,262 students in the METCO program and 3.4% of Lexington’s total school population.

Lexington is the 3rd largest of METCO’s 37 receiving communities, behind Newton (427, or 13% of all METCO students), Brookline (292, 9%) and followed by Needham (181, 6%), Weston (169, 5%), Wellesley (157, 5%), Wayland (139, 4%), Melrose (125, 4%) and Belmont (104, 3%).

Of the other 28 receiving communities, 14 educate 50 to 99 METCO students, 12 educate 20 to 49 METCO students, and 2 educate 19 or fewer METCO students. The full details, based on Massachusetts Department of Education data, are

According to DOE and our Appropriation Committee report (page 9) to Town Meeting, of Lexington’s 243 METCO students, 124 are in our elementary schools (grades K-5; at 26 students per classroom, that’s equivalent to 5 full classrooms), 51 in our middle schools (grades 6-8) and 68 at the high school (grades 9-12).

DOE also reports that in 2015, Lexington accepted 33 new METCO students, 15 in Kindergarten, 14 in grade 1, 3 in grade 2 and 1 in grade 6.

In a 2016
analysis, a Lexington resident concluded that the 243 METCO students educated in Lexington’s schools cost “Lexington taxpayers $5.6 million per year​, consisting of $4.2 million in operating costs​ and $1.4 million in capital expenses.”

That’s because the
$1,518,721 METCO subsidy Lexington receives from the State does not cover the full marginal costs incurred by the Lexington schools to educate these 243 students.

On January 3, 2017 the School department responded to this resident’s analysis with a
presentation which acknowledged an annual cost after the State subsidy of $1,273,144 (vs. the resident’s estimate of $4.2 million) but was silent about the marginal capital costs caused by the METCO students (estimated at $1.4 million by the resident).

Appropriation Committee report (page 8) states that the 2017-18 school budget is $115 million (line 1100 plus health benefits, but not including capital costs) for 7,163 students, or $16,054 per student.

Using that ratio, 243 METCO kids cost 243 x $16,054 = $3.9 million. About 20% of school costs are fixed (e.g. central administration, heating classrooms regardless of the number of students), so the marginal cost to educate 243 METCO kids is about $3.1 million, of which we receive only $1.5 million from the State, leaving Lexington with a
$1.6 million annual operating cost after the State subsidy.

In addition — as we painfully know since our enrollments are rising so fast that we must enlarge our school buildings — there no longer are “empty seats” in our schools, so some
annual capital costs are attributable to the 243 METCO kids — to pick just one third of the resident’s estimate, over $400,000 annually.

In summary,
the METCO program now costs Lexington taxpayers each year about $2 million more than the State subsidy.