Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando officials attempt to clear up confusion for dual-enrolled students

BROOKSVILLE — Confusion about a new state law boiled over at Tuesday night's Hernando School Board meeting as more than 50 parents and students showed up to voice their concerns.

For more than an hour, people took to the podium wondering whether high-achieving students would be forced to graduate early and bemoaning the lack of communication and information.

Over and over, superintendent Bryan Blavatt attempted to allay their fears.

Hernando schools will not force students to graduate after they reach 24 credits, Blavatt said. The district will not prevent students from taking certain courses. And the law was not intended to punish high-achieving students, he said.

"No youngster in Hernando County who is a part of our school system is going to be turned away and told they can't go to school or they can't take courses," the superintendent said. "And to my knowledge, at this point, no school has told anyone that."

But that didn't stop roughly a dozen people from going to the podium during the sometimes contentious meeting.

At issue is House Bill 7059, which went into effect July 1. It provides a student the option to graduate from high school early once he or she has completed at least 24 credits and met standard graduation requirements.

There's been a lot of misinformation floating around the past few days, in part propagated by erroneous media reports, Blavatt said.

Angie Davis and her daughter, Rachel, a junior at Nature Coast Technical High School, both spoke to the School Board, worried about the change.

But on Wednesday, Angie Davis met with school officials and determined there wasn't a problem with her daughter taking two more years to graduate.

"Her track for college is uninterrupted," Davis said, noting that there wasn't a problem on the district's end.

The issue does not appear to be completely settled, though. Much of the continuing confusion has to do with students who are dual enrolled in community college classes.

Blavatt said students who have 24 credits and elect to graduate would, as high school graduates, have to begin paying for classes at Pasco-Hernando Community College or some other community college.

That's fairly clear.

The confusion comes with students who have completed 24 credits but decide to continue taking high school and dual enrollment courses during their senior year, Blavatt said.

"Our position is, with the support of the state, that those students are considered dual-enrollment students and should not pay," he said. "PHCC and some of the other colleges don't see it that way, and they think the student should have to pay."

Blavatt said he is waiting for clarification on that issue.

"That's where the confusion is," agreed newly hired assistant superintendent Ken Pritz. "(State officials) have not come back with that answer yet. That obviously is a huge point of discussion as to who is going to pay."

Jeanne Gasque, assistant dean of instructional services for PHCC, said Wednesday that any high school student classified as "dual enrolled" does not need to pay college tuition.

She noted, however, that she had not been briefed on the specific issue of Hernando County students who have reached 24 high school credits. No other PHCC officials were available.

In previous interviews, Blavatt has said that forcing students to pay for their community college courses would be difficult for many students.

He said some students are scrambling to rearrange their schedules in light of the confusion over the new state law.

Another issue is when Bright Futures scholarships would kick in.

The law states that the scholarships kick in during the spring semester of 2013 for students who graduate early, Pritz said. But it is unclear how it will be applied to future graduates, he said.

The district is waiting to receive clarification.

Danny Valentine can be reached at or (352) 848-1432.

Hernando officials attempt to clear up confusion for dual-enrolled students 08/15/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 15, 2012 8:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays' Blake Snell erasing memories of his poor start

    The Heater

    NEW YORK — As Blake Snell strides up the mound at Yankee Stadium Tuesday night with an 10-game unbeaten streak, doesn't the miserable start to his sophomore season, when he was winless in eight starts and got demoted to Triple-A, seem like a long time ago?

    To him, too.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) in the dugout during the fourth inning of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017. WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times

  2. St. Petersburg youth baseball concession stand vandalized

    Public Safety

    ST. PETERSBURG — The early-morning phone call warned Charles Castle, president of Burg Baseball, to "expect the worst.'' The organization's concession stand had been vandalized.

     Cliff Williams, Vice President of the Burg Baseball Inc., St. Petersburg, looks at a damaged and trashed concession stand at the Lakewood Baseball Complex, home of the Burg Baseball. According to Williams someone vandalized the concession stand either Saturday or Sunday. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times

  3. Tampa charter school teacher charged with firing handgun at ground


    TAMPA — A Tampa charter school teacher was arrested Sunday after she fired a gun into the ground during a dispute with her boyfriend, police said.

    Melody Patrice Bing, a teacher at the Village of Excellence Academy in Tampa, emerged from her home holding a weapon and dropped it when police confronted her at gunpoint. [Tampa Police Department]
  4. Tuesday's Nothing More concert moved from the State Theatre to Jannus Live in St. Petersburg


    Nothing More was one of the highlights of April's 98 Rockfest, a thoroughly entertaining rock outfit with a larger-than-live stage presence.

    Nothing More performed at 98 Rockfest 2017 in Tampa.
  5. Triad Retail Media names Sherry Smith as CEO


    ST. PETERSBURG — Triad Retail Media, a St. Petersburg-based digital ads company, said CEO Roger Berdusco is "leaving the company to pursue new opportunities" and a member of the executive team, Sherry Smith, is taking over.

    Roger Berdusco is stepping down as CEO at Triad Retail Media to pursue other opportunities. [Courtesy of Triad Retail Media]