As the school year winds down, some students must think about summer school.
The Hays USD 489 summer school program at the Learning Center provides high school students, most from Hays High School, a chance to retake a class and recover credit, said Anita Scheve, TLC director.
Approximately 10 years ago, delivery of summer school classes changed from teachers in a classroom to the online format at TLC.
“It’s cost-effective to provide online classes for credit recovery. It’s cheaper than hiring teachers for the classes,” she said.
Until last summer, students who qualify for free lunches paid no fee for the one-half credit classes. Fees for other students varied depending upon whether they qualified for reduced-cost lunches and lived in or out of the school district.
The USD 489 Board of Education implemented a flat $100 fee for all in-district summer school students to reduce the amount they subsidized the program.
A total of 89 students took classes last summer. Forty-one of those took two or more classes.
Ten out-of-district students enrolled and paid a $200 fee.
Scheve applied for a Dane G. Hansen Foundation grant last year that paid $4,500, or 75 percent, of the fee for those who qualified for free lunches, and “we’re still struggling to collect that amount.”
This year, she is asking the BOE to return to the policy of waiving the fee for students who qualify for free lunches.
Administrators recommend the board approve waiving the fee as well, charge $50 per one-half credit for reduced-lunch students, $100 for each in-district full pay per one-half credit and $200 per one-half credit for out-of-district students.
Projected revenue would be $6,500, or $1,500 short of the $8,000 needed to cover costs.
A fee of $25 for free-lunch students for each one-half credit would cover the additional cost for the credit recovery, but Scheve is concerned that even that fee would keep some students from enrolling.
The majority of the students — 63 percent — meet the free-lunch qualifications.
“Summer school is an at-risk intervention. We do have students at risk,” Scheve said.
The fees or waiving of fees would only apply to summer school students taking the online classes for credit recovery to stay on track to graduate with their class.
Most students complete the course and are able to graduate with their class, maintaining the school district graduation rate.
The waived fees would not apply to other Learning Center students who happen to be enrolled in classes during the summer.
The BOE is expected to vote on summer school fees at the March 21 meeting.