FARMINGTON — Mt. Blue High School teacher Lisa Dalrymple told the RSU 9 school board Tuesday that the federal government has authorized the district to accept tuition from international students.

Dalrymple, a world language teacher and coordinator of the program, brought a proposal for the district to start its own international student program to the board in March. She received approval to move forward with it.

Her proposal was that the program would cost the district $20,355 the first year, which is this 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 is expected to grow from there.

The intent is to use proceeds to restore the foreign language classes to the lower grades. It is part of a long-term goal for the district. The classes were previously eliminated because of budget constraints.

Dalrymple said she worked all summer with the help of others to get the district approved to accept tuition from students from other countries.

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She had initially figured it would take to the end of the current school year to accomplish the federal government’s approval.

“Everybody helped,” she said.

Legal aspects were reviewed, and a the Department of Homeland Security did a site visit and review prior to approval.

No tuition students are lined up to go to the high school. But that is OK, she said, because there is a lot more work to do. She is working with students and fellow staff members to develop a district website for the program.

Other school districts in Maine have similar programs, but not many involve public schools, Dalrymple said. Most of the programs that host exchange students are private schools, she said.

Dalrymple told the board in March that the idea would be to attract Asian students, starting with Chinese students. Students would be charged tuition and housing, among other costs.

In November, she is going to China to look at schools with most of the trip paid for by the Chinese government.

“The cost to us is very little,” Dalrymple said. “The Chinese government is paying for the rest.”

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