School districts prepared to fight dual-enrollment change
At the end of the 2013 legislative session, Florida's lawmakers made a last-minute change in how dual-enrollment students are paid for, making it the responsibility of school districts to pay the tuition and fees of high school students taking college courses.
Both colleges and school districts received money for dual-enrollment students in previous years. Lawmakers who supported the change said they wanted to avoid double-paying for students' education.
School district officials hope to see a reversal of the decision in the coming year's legislative session.
In a policy statement put out this week by the Florida Association of District School Superintendents, school leaders argue that the change is unfair to school districts. They say that the districts fared worse than the colleges during the Great Recession, and that colleges weren't experiencing extra costs from dual-enrollment students because high school students could only take a class on a "space-available basis." (The space provision also was done away with for the 2013/14 school year.)
"This arrangement worked for years," the paper states.
District leaders also say that the funding change discourages them from promoting dual-enrollment options for students. Here's what they want to see in 2014:
*A repeal of the tuition requirement for school districts
*Allow for negotiations between colleges and school districts to determine fees. (This is intended to use a funding formula that compares the actual costs to each entity for the students.)
*Allow for multi-year agreements.
*Allow school districts to send students to colleges outside the local area.
*Set a cap on the cost of textbooks or force colleges to use the same textbook for at least three years.