LAND O’ LAKES — The Pasco County school district has reluctantly agreed to pay Pasco-Hernando Community College an administrative fee for dual enrollment students, but Superintendent Kurt Browning said this week the fight over the fee isn’t over.
Browning told the school board Tuesday that he plans to lobby the Legislature to amend the law on dual enrollment classes, which allow high school students to take college classes at no charge to the student.
“I can say it doesn’t sit well with me,” Browning said.
In the past, state law called for community colleges to waive the tuition for dual enrollment students, but as more high school students took advantage of the program, colleges complained that it was becoming too costly. The colleges turned to the Legislature for relief and this year lawmakers shifted responsibility for covering tuition to school districts.
The Pasco school district budgeted $490,000 to cover the reduced tuition cost of $73.20 per credit hour, but then the district learned that PHCC also planned to charge the district an additional $37.73 a student per semester for administrative costs.
College officials said that’s to cover expenses in such areas as student advising, admissions records and transcripts. The district balked at paying the administrative fee, though, and after a few months of discussions with the college the matter wasn’t resolved.
The state Department of Education recently contacted the district, wanting to know why Pasco and the community college had not signed a dual-enrollment articulation agreement, Browning said. Pasco was the only district in the state that had not signed such an agreement, he said.
“We need to go ahead, cry uncle, sign the agreement and get it up to the state board (of education),” Browning told the school board.
He said the estimated total cost of the administrative fee will be about $65,000 to $70,000.