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Private School Tuition Contract

Shrewsbury, MA |

My daughter has been going to a private school for the past 3 years. (she is now in 1st grade). The tuition has jumped up this year by a factor of 2. My wife signed the agreement last January to enroll her in School for this year, unaware apparently that we we committed in full to this contract.

My Financial situation has changed considerably in the last 4 months, and with the added obstical of the current economic conditions in general I can no longer afford to send my child to this school. It is to the point that our savings are essentially gone, and this payment puts our monthly expenses over our monthly income.

The school will not let us out of the contract, and they will sue us if we breach. I told them that the may have a little girl in their classroom that needs to live in her Fathers car at night if this is the only option. they seem not to be swayed.

Is there ANYTHING I could do to get out of this agreement? The school will go on without our full payment, but our family very well may not.

I realize we signed a binding agreement. And under the circumstance at the time of signing it, we could have afforded the school. My income has since dropped by 40%.

2 questions:

1. If sued, will the judge grant the school the full amount, or look into my finances and see what I have the ability to pay??


2. Should I consider personal Bankruptcy, and would this protect me from this payment?

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Attorney answers 1


In reverse order. I certainly support people learning their legal rights in any situation including bankruptcy. However, you should know that personal bankruptcy now involves (since 2005) credit counselling. It would not make this debt go away, only add it to the pile.

As to a judge... I learned long ago not to predict judges even on someone clearly one-sided. Some contracts require you to go to mediation first. Of course that is more their recourse than yours. All you have to do is withdraw your child from school. I would hope that a judge would decide based on what is fair but this is a contract issue and the first remedy is according to the contract.

If you want to proceed you might consider how publicity would look. Does this school really care about their students if they go this far to force a family to pay their tuition? I can imagine that such a publicity war would cost them more than this is worth.

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