Dual enrolment gives qualifying students the opportunity to receive college credit while finishing up their high school career. But for the 2013-2014 school year the Legislature put the cost of this experience on each school district and allocated no funds to offset the expense.
Not many people look forward to bills coming in, especially when they are expensive and unexpected. That's the reality for School districts across the state and in Jackson County dual enrolment is becoming a financial burden. According to Jackson County Director of Middle School and Secondary Education, Jennifer See, fees add up quickly, "Any Student that was dual enrolled or early admitted we would be responsible as a district to for paying for their tuition and we were already paying for their text books."
Fall semester numbers are in, Chipola tuition invoice comes to $74,000. Take the invoice add $30,000 for text books and there you have over $100,000 total, the price of fall dual enrolment. Superintendent Steve Benton isn't too happy with that math, "I'm not pleased with it by no means. That's $100,000 that ordinarily we did not have to come up with." The Board approved the funds to come out of this year's general fund and the payment will be made next week.
Benton says by dipping into funds for unexpected bills, growth to the school system suffers, "It's hard to offer anything new when you don't have anything to do it with." Jackson County prides itself on offering their students the college experience, Benton, "I mean I'm all for dual enrolment. I don't have a problem with it until it kills us financially."
According to See, the program offers students a great experience, "It's a very good program and opportunity for those that qualify a jump start almost." Benton says he is hopeful the 2014-2015 school year will have allocated funds for the dual enrollment program.