It takes time and considerable effort to cobble together sufficient funding to sustain the Academies from year to year. The program staff works closely with colleagues in the LPS grants office to coordinate funding sources and prepare proposals. In addition, Superintendent Riley personally takes part in fundraising, with the support of the district’s full-time director of strategic initiatives. It helps that the district has a high profile in Massachusetts, given that it was first to be placed in receivership.
The Academies serve approximately 3,500 – 5,000 students, resulting in a cost to the district of approximately $500 per week per student – far less than what a week of tutoring would cost in an affluent suburb. Funding comes from a mix of federal grant funding, along with the private monies raised by the district. This public-private mix can create a sense of uncertainty from year to year, leaving the central office the task of right-sizing the Academies to fit the available budget.
The Lynch Foundation has been an anchor funder of the Academies from the start. Other funders of the Acceleration Academies have included: New Profit; Hestia Fund; Highland Street Foundation; Stevens Foundation; Boston Foundation; Eastern Bank; Gem Group; Rogers Family Foundation; and various individual philanthropists.
Each teacher receives a stipend of $3,000 for the week, which signals that their time and talent are valuable. Each teacher has approximately 12 students in a classroom, which yields important economies of scale.