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Tuition increase part of proposed changes to summer school

By Bayne Hughes 40-2432

If the Decatur, Hartselle and Morgan County school boards approve, next year's joint summer school will include a tuition increase, late registration fees, no guaranteed classes and preferred minimum class sizes.

Superintendents of the three school systems met two weeks ago after complaints that Morgan County and Decatur students were unable to take needed classes in July's summer school sessions at Hartselle High School.

Morgan County threatened to pull out of the agreement if changes aren't made.

The superintendents then assigned representatives to discuss possible changes to the joint school summer school.

Phil Hastings, supervisor of Safety and Alternative Education for Decatur, said they agreed that Decatur would continue hosting the first and second sessions of summer school in June.

Morgan County and Hartselle would alternate years as the host of the third and fourth sessions in July. Each two-week session equals one semester.

Next year's summer school will feature an increase from $100 to $150 per session.

A deadline for registration will be set before the June sessions, and late registration would be an additional $50 per session.

Hastings said the tuition increase lets school systems decrease the minimum required to break even financially.

At $100 a session, it takes 16 students for the school system to break even on a class, while $150 allows the minimum to drop to 10 per class.

He said the group agreed that the school system running the summer school could cancel a class if it doesn't have 10 students. The system could, however, offer a smaller class under special circumstances.

"We agreed that we want to make sure that the students know that there are no guaranteed classes," Hastings said.

Distance learning

Hastings said the school systems also plan to use the state's distance learning program, Alabama Connecting Classes for Educators and Students Statewide, to give students a chance to recover credits lost due to failure or other circumstances.

Morgan County Superintendent Bob Balch said he plans to report to his school board on the proposals Tuesday at its 5:30 p.m. meeting.

Superintendents Sam Houston of Decatur and William Michael Reed of Hartselle said their school boards would not consider the proposals until next spring at the time when they set summer school.

Balch said he would not comment on the proposals until after his board meeting.

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