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Cache school board ponders online options for students

October 9th, 2011 Posted in Opinion

By Allee Evensen

NORTH LOGAN — Students enrolled at Cache County high schools looking to take free online classes though the district next year may find themselves out of luck.

The district currently works with the state to provide online classes through Electronic High School (EHS). The future of EHS is undecided, but the program will lose direct funding at the state level at the end of the year because of SB 65, which passed through the Utah Senate last March.

The district will have to make a major decision in the face of the bill, which allows eligible ninth- through twelfth-grade students the choice to take up to two high school credits a year through an outside provider. For each online class a student takes, their school will lose a portion of funding, which totals more than $700 for two credits.

“It doesn’t take long to realize we’ll be in the hole,” board member Bart Baird said Thursday at the Board of Education meeting.

Another concern to the district is that if a student registers and drops an online class, the funding will not go back to the school, but will be placed in a general pool of money at the state level. Baird said it’s imperative that the district keeps parents in the know.

“As a school board, it’s our duty to keep parents informed,” he said.

The district is currently looking at creating a coalition with other districts throughout the state and creating their own online class system to avoid losing funding. However, the discussion is in its first stages and there have been no decisions made.

In Thursday’s meeting, the school board also reported that their annual audit came back nearly flawless for the 2010-2011 school year. Diana Cannell an audit shareholder with Allred Jackson said the district’s financial situation was “solid,” and commended them for their financial dealings.

“The district came out extremely proficient,” she said. “You are well organized.” She told the school board that though they ended the year running at a $3 million loss due to budget cuts and an enrollment increase of more than 1,200 students, they would remain in good shape as long as they avoid running a deficit in the next three years. The district used bonds to cover the deficit from last fiscal year.


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