Pasco district officials blast community college over proposed dual enrollment fees
Though unhappy about it, Pasco County schools superintendent Kurt Browning had resigned himself to the fact that his district would have to pay tuition costs for students to take dual enrollment classes at Pasco-Hernando Community College.
The Legislature approved the funding change in the spring to deal with college president complaints that the program costs had grown too steep. And like it or not, Browning acknowledged, the law is the law.
What Browning wasn't prepared for was the college's demand for administrative fees of $37.73 per student, beyond the $73.20 per credit hour. Making matters worse, he said, the college wants the fee even when students are taking dual enrollment courses at Pasco County schools from Pasco County teachers.
"It’s ridiculous," Browning said during a presentation to the School Board on Tuesday. "I want to know what costs the college is incurring for using our buildings and our teachers. ... I will tell you I am not happy about it."
He also wasn't happy that the college also has asked for tuition for students taking dual enrollment courses over the summer, something the state Department of Education has said is not proper because school districts don't get per-student funding during the summer. "we are going to have lawyers dealing with lawyers over that," Browning said.
He asked the School Board for its support to fight the college's proposal, which he would not put forth for a vote along with a general agreement to continue dual enrollment for the new school year. The board unanimously agreed, saying they felt "blindsided" by the college's actions.
No one from PHCC was immediately available for comment. State Sen. John Legg, who chairs the Senate Education Committee, said his office has received several calls about concerns over dual enrollment funding in several counties, and whether the new rules are being equitably applied.
"I think he has some legitimate concerns," Legg said of Browning. "I think we deserve to give them some clarity."