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Dual enrollment to cost district in excess of $500,000

Published:   |   Updated: October 9, 2013 at 12:38 PM

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BROOKSVILLE - The Hernando County School Board will vote next week whether to allocate an estimated half million dollars from state funding to dual-enrollment tuition costs this year.

The long-awaited addendum to an existing agreement between Pasco-Hernando Community College and the school district follows Senate Bill 1514, which took effect in June, and mandates school districts statewide cover tuition costs for high school students dual-enrolled in college courses.

Previously, college tuition and fees for dual-enrollment courses were waived at no cost to school districts. According to figures provided by the college in the addendum, PHCC paid more than $2 million last year in personnel costs for dual-enrollment costs for Pasco and Hernando students.

A draft of the addendum shows the district will pay $73.20 per credit hour per student attending college courses on PHCC campuses, and about $37.73 per student attending college courses taught by Hernando teachers on Hernando School District property.

"Those are administrative charges that we've calculated for the academic advisers, registration records processes and so forth," said Burt Harres, vice president of instruction and provost at PHCC's West Campus. "The instructors teaching at the high schools are Hernando County School District employees . but they have to have the same academic qualifications - a master's degree in their discipline, for example - as instructors on college campuses."

An issue of whether Hernando County schools are obligated to pay the $73.20 per credit hour fee for students attending college courses on PHCC campuses during the summer will be resolved before May 2014, the agreement states.

According to a presentation given this summer by Marcia Austin of the Division of Teaching and Learning, the bill will require a total projected cost of $546,496 for 53 percent of dual-enrolled Hernando students to attend college courses on Pasco-Hernando Community College campuses during the 2013-14 school year.

The other 47 percent of dual-enrolled Hernando students taking courses on school district properties amount to little or no cost, Austin said.

According to last year's estimates provided by the college in the addendum, the costs of dual enrollment for Hernando students on district property was about $37,350.

The agreement was signed Sept. 17-18 by PHCC Board of Trustees President Katherine Johnson and chairman John Dirienzo and remains to be signed by school superintendent Lori Romano and school board chairman Matt Foreman.

Harres said PHCC administrators and Romano were involved in negotiations over the addendum and arrived at agreements needed to comply with the Senate bill.

"The impression I have is that the superintendent is aware of how the college administrative costs are calculated, and that's she is in agreement," Harres said. "I doubt she would have moved it forward for the board's approval if she had concerns, so we've been able to work things out to her satisfaction."

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