FARMINGTON — RSU 9 World Language teacher Lisa Dalrymple proposed the district start its own international student program to pay for foreign language classes in the lower grades again.

The Mt. Blue High School teacher made the proposal to the school board Tuesday night.

Dalrymple said the program would cost $20,355 the first year and $15,200 the second year. By the third year, if three foreign students were brought to Mt. Blue High School, there would be a net profit of $38,400, according to her proposal. The program would grow from there, she said.

A few years ago, the elementary World Language program was eliminated due to budget constraints, she said. One of the long-term goals for the district is to have a language program in grades pre-kindergarten through 12 and she developed the idea of an international students program to fund world languages at the lower grade levels, she said.

For more than 10 years, Dalrymple has been very involved in bringing international students to the district, she said. She has hosted 10 of them, she said.

Instead of going to an outside agency, she suggested the district establish a program to bring foreign students to RSU 9 and find homes for them in the area.

It would bring tuition money to the district, she said.

“We have a beautiful new school, we can market it,” Dalrymple said.

She believes the biggest selling point would be giving foreign students a U.S. diploma. Another advantage is the environment, including clean air and being able to see the stars at night, she said.

An initial focus would be Asian students, with those from China being the first, she said.

She cited a 2012 New York Times article in her plan that foreign students contribute about $21 billion a year to the U.S. economy. Of the undergraduate students in the country, 57,000 of them come from China.

The district could start with an initial $15,000 tuition rate per student, which would rise to $17,000 plus associated fees that students pay during the school year. Students would need to pay a $5,000 administrative fee and a $5,500 to $6,000 home-stay fee. Host families would be compensated for housing students.

If the district raised the number of foreign students to 10, tuition of $17,000 each would bring $170,000 to the district, Dalrymple said.

Dalrymple would ask for a stipend and additional preparation time to develop the program and oversee it. The highly regulated program would need to be certified through the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, she said. That process could take at least nine months. She would also have to be interviewed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Dalrymple said she would work with the University of Maine at Farmington and its International Studies Program.

Directors said they would read Dalrymple’s proposal and make a decision at another meeting.

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