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By Carmen Ensinger
When Lewis and Clark Community College (LCCC) announced that they would no longer be subsidizing the dual-credit courses that North Greene students would be taking, the school board started discussing how they could possibly provide some funding to help the students interested in taking these courses.
“In the past, these courses were cheap to our students because LCCC was picking up a portion of the cost,” North Greene Superintendent Mark Scott said. “I guess they lost their grant funding so they can no longer do that.”
But, now another option has arisen for the district from the North Greene Education Foundation (NGEA) who has proposed to cover 50 percent of the cost of the programs if the district will cover the other 50 percent.
“The NGEA is proposing that the district and the foundation work together for any students wanting to take these dual credit courses so our kids don’t miss out on these courses,” Scott said.
The courses being offered range from new courses like welding and criminal justice to the typical dual credit courses such as English.
“It would be different if we had 60 kids taking these courses, but we don’t have that many taking the course so I think it is something we can handle,” Scott said. “With the Foundation picking up half, our portion would be $4,300.”
The board approved funding the cost along with the NGEA.
This past summer, the board approved a work program through the State that paid North Greene students $11 an hour to do work around the school and in the community with the supervision of teacher Chuck McEvers.
The opportunity for that program to continue throughout the school year has arisen and McEvers has asked the school board to grant him a total of 20 hours a month at $20 per hour to supervise the 11 remaining students in the program.
High School Principal Amanda Macias explained what the students would be doing.
“These 11 students would be doing things around the campus such as working at the games, doing the sound, taping them, etcetera. Or, working on the grounds, doing the weed eating around the fence area and things like that.”
Macias said one of the stipulations of the program is that it has to have a supervisor and that that supervisor has to perform an evaluation on each student every two weeks as well as do their timesheets.
“Chuck (McEvers) said some weeks he might only use two hours and some weeks he might use more, such as the weeks when he has to do the evaluations,” Macias said. “So, he asked if we could just cap it at like 20 hours a month. He said if any of the work the students did was outside of the district he would not count those hours.”
Scott said that was something he was concerned about.
“I don’t want the district on the hook for paying him $400 a month if all the work being done is outside of the district,” he said. “I have no problem with the students doing work out in the community but not all of it. We have to get some return for our $400.”
Macias said that would not be a problem.
“I think they are just happy the students have the opportunity to do this and don’t want to see it go by the wayside,” she said. “My philosophy is to keep the program going for as long as we can.”
Dean of Students Brett Berry agreed.
“The Job Center is trying to keep us connected with this program as well,” he said. “So if this program comes around again next summer, they can get work for our kids and our district. They are really trying to do good things for us.”
It is also a connection that the students can make for their future.
“The biggest deal to me is that the Job Center is willing to pay for these kids to go to a technical college, like Rankin, or even a four-year college,” Macias said. “They won’t pay for all of the tuition, but one of our students has already gotten $2,000 a semester to go to school. For example, if they want to go to LCCC for the welding program, they will pay for that.”
The board gave Scott approval to apply for another maintenance grant released by the state. This is a 50/50 matching grant with a total matching amount of $50,000. Last year the district received a $50,000 matching grant that it used to help replace the rooftop units at the high school.
Scott said there was only one hitch.
“If we are awarded the grant, we have to use district funds for the matching portion,” he said. “We cannot use any ESSER funds or CARES funds as the matching portion. We have to use funds we bring in from taxes or General State Aid.”