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posted: 11/2/2012 10:00 AM

District 214 discusses summer school costs

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Summer school could cost students in Northwest Suburban High School District 214 more in 2013, officials said.

The District 214 school board discussed options for summer school, including a possible tuition increase for summer 2013 courses at its meeting Thursday night.

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District officials suggested raising the tuition fee to $200 per class from $155 after doing a survey of Chicago-area school districts and finding that summer school courses at surrounding schools range from $50 to $400, said Rosemary Pinnick, associate superintendent for educational services.

Officials also recommended increasing the transportation fee for students from $35 to $50 per summer session, but board members expressed concern with the changes.

"I have a problem with the amount for the increase," said Board Member Bill Dussling. "I think this is going to negatively affect students who really need summer school."

Dussling suggested a smaller increase or introducing higher tuition over a number of years.

Students who cannot afford summer school are able to get a tuition and fee waiver, said Deb Parenti, associate superintendent for finance and operations. Parenti said the number of students receiving fee waivers has increase significantly in recent years.

In the past, many students took summer school to complete the information processing graduation requirement, filling 11 sections of classes last summer, Pinnick said. However, with the board eliminating that graduation requirement at its last meeting, Pinnick said that will have an unknown effect on enrollment that could change the financial balance of the summer school program.

In 2012 about 2,800, or nearly a fourth of the students in District 214 took summer school classes, Pinnick said.

The district also offers driver's education, bridge courses for incoming ninth graders, elective classes for students looking to get ahead and core courses for students who need to bring up their grades during summer school.

"I would be very concerned about increasing more costs at this point," agreed Board Member Dan Petro. "I understand our financial predicament, but there will be kids who won't take summer school because their parents can't afford it, and that's the wrong decision to take."

The board will continue to discuss options for summer school that could include a smaller tuition increase or none at all, leaving the program operating at a loss. Board members will vote on the summer school plans at the next District 214 board meeting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15.

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