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Friday, Apr 18, 2014
Pasco Tribune

Pasco eSchool summer classes coming

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LAND O’ LAKES -

Pasco eSchool is offering summer school for the first time, at least in part because the Pasco County school district stood to lose millions of dollars in state funding if it didn’t.

“It was, ‘Could we afford not to offer summer school?’” said JoAnne Glenn, principal of the online school, which opened in 2009.

New rules the Legislature created for online schools this year are behind the move.

School districts now can extend their online course offerings into the summer, whereas before students who wanted online summer classes signed up with Florida Virtual School, an online school that serves students around the world.

More critical, district officials say, is that the Legislature changed the funding formula so districts lose money when a student takes a class through Florida Virtual.

In the past, for example, if a student took six classes in the district and one class through Florida Virtual, the district still received full state funding for that student, Glenn said. Florida Virtual received funding separately if the student completed the class with the online school.

After July 1, though, the student funding will be divided proportionately between the district and Florida Virtual. So in that example, Pasco would lose one-seventh of the funding for the student.

“It creates a pretty strong incentive for the districts to ramp up their (online) offerings,” Glenn said.

The school district anticipates Pasco eSchool’s summer school will cost $900,000, but officials said that beat the alternative. The district estimated it could lose as much as $13 million if it didn’t offer the online summer classes and students opted for Florida Virtual instead.

With the district facing a revenue shortfall and struggling to balance the 2013-14 budget, the decision came with some trepidation.

“It’s tough to spend $900,000 when you don’t have it,” Superintendent Kurt Browning told the school board last week.

Glenn said Pasco eSchool will offer 130 summer courses, including all core academic classes for middle and high school and some electives and several foreign languages.

Registration has begun. For information, go to http://eschool.pasco.k12.fl.us/.


rblair@tampatrib.com

(813) 371-1853

Twitter: @RBlairTBO

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