HARVARD -- After receiving overall positive feedback from Devens residents on education, MassDevelopment has signed a new five-year contract with Harvard Public Schools.

Harvard will receive money for tuition on a per-pupil basis based on age. Kindergarten through 12th-grade students will bring the district $14,691 each.

Devens residents who choose to enroll their children in pre-kindergarten will be charged the same as Harvard residents, with $4,500 for the half-day program and $6,000 for the full-day program.

MassDevelopment will pay the actual cost of all out-of-district special education placements, as well as transportation for special education students. The agency will also pay a $5,000 fee for each out-of-district student.

MassDevelopment will pay a slowly decreasing percentage of the cost for individualized support for in-district special education students over the first three years.

In the 2014-2015 school year, MassDevelopment will pay all costs for the support. The next year, the agency will pay 60 percent of the costs, and in the 2016-2017 year it will pay 30 percent. By the 2017-2018 school year, Harvard will pay for all of the cost.

The school committee approved the contract unanimously.

"We welcome and appreciate the opportunity of having students from Devens in our schools and continuing our partnership with MassDevelopment," School Committee Chair SusanMary Redinger said in a statement.


Devens residents seem largely pleased with Harvard's education, according to a Devens Educational Advisory Committee survey. Out of 74 Devens residents, 93 percent believe that students in Devens are well served by Harvard Public Schools.

In a statement, MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones said the agency considers this satisfaction and education of "utmost importance."

"We look forward to continuing this successful partnership with Harvard and appreciate the district's partnership on the upcoming contract," she said.

Linda Dwight, Harvard's new superintendent, said the contract is wonderful mainly because it gives security to the families and the district.

"It cements the relationship which is already strong," she said. "I think it's all a win-win."

The survey highlighted some dissatisfaction with transportation, with one bus in particular having timing and behavior issues. The bus, which carried Devens students and runs through Ayer Road, later featured a monitor to keep a check on student behavior.

To solve timing issues, Dwight said the bus will cut out a loop that it was making in Harvard, which will be picked up by another bus.

Despite the bus issues, Dwight said the end of the year finished very smoothly on that bus. She said the district does not know yet whether they will keep the monitor for the next school year.