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CCTC to be sole provider of dual-enrollment classes

Posted: May 5, 2011 4:37 p.m.
Updated: May 6, 2011 5:00 a.m.

Central Carolina Technical College (CCTC) will continue to offer dual enrollment classes to Kershaw County School District (KCSD) students next year.

In a 6-2 vote during Tuesday evening’s Kershaw County Board of School Trustees meeting, board members voted to allow CCTC to continue to provide dual enrollment classes to county high school students at no cost to the students.

During a previous board meeting, April 19, an associate dean from the University of South Carolina- Sumter (USC-Sumter) and CCTC’s president made dual enrollment course presentations to the board. In both proposed programs, tuition would be free for students who take six hours each semester, and students would only be required to pay for textbooks and other required instructional materials.

During Tuesday evening’s meeting, however, KCSD Superintendent Dr. Frank Morgan recommended the district continue to permit only CCTC to offer courses to KCSD students. He said he based his recommendation on several reasons, including the fact that CCTC has offered to conduct classes at the high schools if at least 10 students at the school enrolled in the course. If enrollment dipped below 10 students, Morgan said, CCTC would offer the class at its Camden campus.

“And Central Carolina and Kershaw County have entered into a pretty significant financial partnership that is tied to the county’s economic development. If you want to talk about opportunities for young people in the long run, economic development is pretty well tied to that, because that’s where budget money comes, through taxes,” he said, adding that allowing USC-Sumter to offer more financially advantageous courses and expecting CCTC to offer everything did not seem equitable. “I don’t think fragmenting the dual enrollment services is going to increase opportunities any, because both schools will offer the same breadth of classes. I don’t think fragmenting will make it any more efficient.”

While acknowledging she was “not tied to either school,” Trustee Nissary Wood said it was important to provide options and as many educational opportunities as possible to the school district’s students.

 “For the last couple (of) months, the issue of allowing USC-Sumter to offer classes in our schools has been met with more than a little resistance. Some have said that it would be unfair to Central Carolina. Some have even said that they don’t see a benefit to our students,” she said. “I reject both of those statements with a question, ‘Where would our students be if we never discussed the option of USC-Sumter offering classes?’ The simple answer, tuition would still be $50 higher and classes would only be available to students who had transportation to get to them.

“If we are truly to be advocates for our students’ best interests, we should be offering as many educational opportunities as possible to them,” she added.

Trustee Shirley Halley also said she would like to see students have an option of attending both programs. The competition between the two programs, she said, “keeps people honest and makes them toe the line.”

“I would like to think that when I get a choice, I would hope and think that I have an opportunity to go where I would like to go, whether it’s USC or Central,” she said. “I realize that Central Carolina has been in a partnership with us, but I also realize that these children who are selected to be in these classes are some of the best and brightest students in Kershaw County.

“If the numbers don’t pan out, so be it. But I do think they need the option of being able to go with either one of the programs.”

Addressing concerns from speakers who said they were concerned about costs and safety issues associated with driving from the Lugoff-Elgin area to CCTC, Trustee Mara Jones said CCTC is willing to conduct classes on campus.

 “I think (Trustee) Jim (Smith) said it best -- we’re trying to fix something that’s not broken,” she said, adding that she considered the choice before CCTC decided to propose the same offerings as USC-Sumter. “Well, we got what we wanted, so now why are we going to create another tier of work for our administration whenever we’re getting ready to do additional budget cuts and a number of people are going to be losing their jobs again. I just can’t see it.”

Ultimately, the board voted to allow CCTC to continue to provide dual enrollment classes, with the caveat that classes be offered at high schools and there be no tuition charge to parents by using S.C. Education Lottery tuition assistance funds. If there are not at least 10 students enrolled in each class at any high school, students will then have to travel to the CCTC campus to take that class.

Wood and Halley voted against the measure. Trustee Don Copley was not present.

Additionally, the board voted to hold an annual review of the dual enrollment program by Feb. 1 of each year.

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