State should fund HS college credit program
Ohio has one of the most robust dual enrollment programs for high school students in the country. College Credit Plus provides students in grades 7-12 the opportunity to earn college and high school credits at the same time by taking courses from Ohio colleges and universities. We have seen several success stories locally about how this has enhanced student experiences and provided a leg up for those choosing to seek a post-secondary education.
The program is obviously meeting its goals of enhancing students’ career readiness and post-secondary success while providing a wide variety of options to college-ready students, at no or limited costs to students and their families. The program is for the most part universally supported with teachers, counselors and administrators working to provide as many options to students and families.
While Ohio is often commended for providing this opportunity, an area that needs to be addressed by state government is the manner in which tuition and books for College Credit Plus is financed. The law that created the program requires local school districts to pay the tuition charges and provide books to students participating in the program. We have school districts in our county being charged costs approaching (and likely exceeding) $100,000 per year.
The state of Ohio has made fundamental changes regarding school funding in Ohio, and it is hoped that they continue to a trajectory of fully funding the Fair School Funding Plan in the next two budget cycles. This is designed to fund districts for what it costs to educate a child in 2022 and to be a fairer system for local property taxpayers. Tax revenues to the state are consistently running much higher than projected and the rainy day fund continues to be at an all-time high.
It is time the state of Ohio seriously consider funding the College Credit Plus program directly rather than deducting the money from individual districts. Teachers, counselors and administrators remain responsible for providing the support and services to their students and families, but having to fund a program like this at the district level creates financial decisions having to be made that can adversely impact other programs and local taxpayers.
As budget negotiations take shape, I hope our legislators locally will commit themselves to funding the Fair School Funding Plan and funding the College Credit Plus program.