Sutton participates in the school choice plan. Begun in 1991, this plan allows parents to choose which school they want their child to go to. While the parents have to get their child to and from the school, it means they can drive their kids a few towns over to a much better school system if they wish. The school benefits by getting extra dollars, per student, to beef up their programs. Conversely, if a school system only has 500 students instead of the 1,000 they were supposed to have, it ends up losing money.
The Mass Department of Education tracks these figures. Comparing from 1996 to 2006, Sutton has had the 9th largest gain in funds because of school choice. Remember, this is just the "increase" they saw.
1. Quabbin - $9.6 million
2. Harvard - $4.6 million
3. Berlin-Boylston - $4.5 million
4. West Boylston - $4 million
5. Nashoba - $2.9 million
6. Hudson - $2.5 million
7. Hopedale - $1.9 million
8. Lunenburg - $1.6 million
9. Sutton - $1.5 million
10. Gardner - $1.2 million
At the bottom of the scale is Leominster, which lost $9.3 million, and Worcester, which lost $9 million.
Compare this with neighbor Millbury, which is not part of the school choice plan. They get zero money from incomign students, since students are not allowed to choose to go to their school. However, students can of course choose NOT to go to their school, meaning they lost $536,000 because of those students not being in their schools.
The Mass Department of Education also tracks graduation rates and dropout rates. I'm not showing other numbers such as "Got a GED instead". In the region, the top graduations rates are:
1. Abby Kelly Foster Charter School - 100%
2. Mass Academy of Math/Sci - 97.8% (0 dropouts)
3. Blackstone Valley Vocational - 97.4% (1.6% dropouts)
4. Francis W Parker Charter - 96.7% (0 dropouts)
5. Harvard - 96.7% (1.1% dropouts)
6. Northboro-Southboro - 96.1% (.7% dropouts)
7. Hopkinton - 95.3% (1.3% dropouts)
8. Hopedale - 93.3% (1.3% dropouts)
9. North Middlesex - 92.7% (3.2% dropouts)
10. Shrewsbury - 92.5% (2.9% dropouts)
Sutton is at 91.3% graduation, with 6.5% dropouts. The lowest local graduation rate is Ware with 61.7% graduating. Their dropout rate was 26.6%.