The Nantucket Community School was established in 1989 with the original purpose of utilizing school facilities to provide adult education classes and a community pool program. Since then, however, the Community School has expanded to offer enriching activities to all islanders and visitors on Nantucket. They have been especially influential to students in that they have provided numerous after school enrichment opportunities. According to their website, the mission of the Nantucket Community School is to “provide a diverse level of high-quality, affordable programs, encourage lifelong personal growth and reach out to all members of the community; spanning from every age and stage.”
There are many programs offered by the Nantucket Community School. Some of them include Early Childhood Education, Child and Teen Enrichments, Driver’s Education, ACKventure Summer Programs, Community Recreation, Adult Education and Enrichment, Adult Literacy (GED and ESOL) and Community Pool programs.
Engagement and participation in different programs offered by the Nantucket Community School has been relatively stable for the past few years. In the fiscal year 2017, 13,202 community members participated in different programs offered by the Nantucket Community School. The highest participation came from the Community pool with 5,813 members or 44% of the total members participating in the program. Early Childhood Education followed next with 3523 members or 27% of the total members participating in the program. ACKenture Summer programs came in third with 1,115 members or 8% of the total members participating in the program. Community recreation came in fourth with 925 members or 7% of the total members participating in the program. Adult Education and Enrichment came in fifth with 851 members or 6% of the total members participating in the program.
Despite these numbers of attendance, the Community School has recently been facing financial issues. Last year, the Nantucket Community School had a operating budget of $1.4 million, but ended with a deficit of $92,441. Several programs have contributed to this deficit, the biggest loss coming from the Community Pool, whose expenses were $77,286 higher than their earnings. According to the Inquirer and Mirror, Superintendent Michael Cozort has warned that “big changes” will occur at the Community School unless the budget deficiency is solved. These changes may include a hiring freeze and some staff and program cuts.
The Community School is a wonderful resource on Nantucket, and losing any of it’s wonderful programs would be regrettable. Hopefully these budget problems are only a bump in the road in the long term success of the school. Please consider taking a Community School course if you have the time and interest, or volunteering for a Community School event or fundraiser.