Students to ante up for summer school

PAT FRIDGEN

With the economy hitting the school district from all angles, high school principal Ed Rife announced to the school board Feb. 17 that the summer program, title Third Semester, would have to charge students this year. Since its inception a decade ago, traditional classes had been free to G-ASD students.

Knowing the line item of the popular program was taken out of the budget, Rife had worked the numbers and said the academic classes would cost students $150, wellness $75, and credit recovery classes, for students who had flunked courses during the regular school year, $175. Each class needed 17 or 18 participants to be self-sustaining and cover the $2,700 salary of the teacher. The recovery classes needed 15 or 16 students. If not enough interest was expressed, some of the classes would be dropped.

Board member Mike Shindle asked if the fee covered teacher benefits. Rife replied no, but he could go back to factor them into a price increase. Business manager Richard Lipella said benefits would add 13 percent to the expense, which as presented would be picked up by the district.

"This is a very important program for the high school," said Rife. "The first year 33 students participated, and now we're up to 125 to 140."

He and assistant principal Christine Reiber said the program allowed students to accelerate through the system, and gave juniors and seniors the flexibility to take advantage of other educational opportunities. It also freed up classroom space during the traditional year. The term ran from June 13 to July 15.

Only two classes would be on campus. Wellness, at a half credit, was set for mornings in the gym. Managing Your Personal Finances, brand new, would be four hours each morning in a classroom.

The other classes would be a blended model, with most of the work done online by students from home. They would go to the school for an hour each Thursday or Friday. The classes included English 10, American Literature, British Literature, The Bible as Literature, African American Literature, Earth Science, Biology, Civics, and U.S. History.

Credit Recovery classes were English 9, English 10, English 11, English 12, Algebra 1, American History, Earth Science, Biology, Civics, and U.S. Modern World. Those classes have mandatory attendance mornings Monday through Thursday at the high school. They also required students to do work from home.

"It's fast-paced," said Reiber. "If the student does the bare minimum, he won't be successful."

The registration procedure changed a little as well. In the past, students could withdraw after they signed up with no penalty. Now payment would be required by May 2. Anyone dropping out early would lose their money but not be assigned a grade. If anyone withdrew after June 20 they would receive a failing grade.

The motion to adopt the program as presented passed 7-1, with Shindle opposed.