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Middletown Academy Students

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Vivian Moon View Drop Down
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    Posted: Jun 23 2015 at 7:51pm

Posted: 6:07 p.m. Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Academy students can take classes at Cincinnati State

By Rick McCrabb

Staff Writer

MIDDLETOWN 

In a move called a “win-win” for the Middletown community, its school district and Cincinnati State, about 150 students will be moved out of the Manchester building to the former Butler County building downtown.

The district signed a five-year memorandum of understanding with Cincinnati State to house Middie Academy students in a building next door to Cincinnati State on Central Avenue, starting the 2015-16 school year.

Cincinnati State will be responsible for maintenance and utilities for the building, while the Middletown district will pay $3,600 a month rent for three years, then $1,500 a month during years four and five of the contract. The rent can be offset by $50 for each course enrollment by Middie Academy and Middletown High School College Credit Plus students, the contract said.

The deal was praised Monday night by school officials and staff, but Board President Marcia Andrew questioned the possible added cost of the program, which had 150 students enrolled, if that number increases during the 2015-16 school year. So wondered what would happen if say, 50 percent of the MHS students, signed up for the program.

Treasurer Randy Bertram said after talking to Lee Day, one of the high school counselors, he estimated the cost of the program may jump from $65,000 to $100,000 to $125,000 this school year for college tuition and textbooks.

The district first considered moving Middie Academy students out of the Manchester building after it decided to renovate the high school, said Superintendent Sam Ison. Now, he said, MHS students will be moved to the Manchester building periodically during the remodeling that is expected to begin sometime in 2016.

MHS students will be able to take on-line classes at MHS and Middie Academy students can take on-line classes in the former Butler County building. MHS Principal Carmela Cotter said since most of the academy students take public transportation to school, the Middletown Transit System can drop them off at the bus terminal, located across the street.

Ison called this “a joint relationship” between the district and Cincinnati State and Cotter said it’s the first one in the area. Ison said the program may also draw students —those attending charter schools — back to the district. Middletown’s enrollment has dropped more than 200, from 6,737 in 2009-10 to 6,510 last year.

Cotter said the on-line classes at the high school also will allow students there to receive college credit and still afford them an opportunity to take electives like band and orchestra.

She said most Middie Academy students have a “layered” approach to education, starting with a certificate, two-year program, and four-year program.

Anna Bowman, an assistant MHS principal and director of Middie Academy, said most of the students are first generation college students. She believes the deal with Cincinnati State will “help guide them through their path” toward college.

The Rev. Greg Tyus, school board vice president, liked the idea because the district has the responsibility to provide educational opportunity for all students, not just those attending Ivy League schools, he said.

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VietVet View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 23 2015 at 8:17pm
What is the source for the $3600 per month? How will the district handle the increased financial load if more students participate? The school district will help CS increase enrollment and pay CS $3600 per month for the honor of doing it. Nice deal for CS. If the district can afford programs like this, they must not need additional levy monies and the treasurer shouldn't be telling us the budget is tight, right?

This "Middie Academy" is a new program and new additional costs for the district. It was not mentioned to the taxpayers until it reached implementation. If the taxpayer is going to fund the costs, shouldn't the taxpayer know about these new programs well before they are implemented and have an opportunity to provide feedback? The school board and school officials were able to participate while excluding the public. Where was the chance for the public to offer opinions?

Other motives perhaps?

Since Cincy State is not meeting enrollment numbers, is this an attempt to boost the CS traffic and increase the anemic class enrollment numbers while bringing more "downtown foot traffic" to their downtown to make it look like there is activity down there?

Now how much is the lease payment from the schools to the city of Middletown to rent the fourth floor? Over 5 grand was it? Couple that with this lease payment and we can see the schools have a nice little rent payment amount due each month.

Where is all this money coming from to do these things?
I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote middletownscouter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 24 2015 at 8:54am
Is the Middie Academy what used to be called the Success Academy or is this something different?
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Vivian Moon View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vivian Moon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 24 2015 at 9:19am
Hmm.....this is the ONLY building that CS owns in the downtown area. The First National Bank and the Old Senior Citizens buildings are owned by HEP and the CG&E building that is still not completed is now owned by Store Master Funding.
This five year deal will ensure much needed revenue goes to Cincinnati State since the student numbers are not increasing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 24 2015 at 11:24am
Any other comments from any school board member on the comments provided? Or, with the exception of Ms. Andrew, do you all want to remain silent and secretive as usual? No credibility on the school board if they won't interact with the taxpaying public IMO. Same goes for any of the council members. Afraid to engage the public on controversial issues. Terrific representation.
I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Marcia Andrew Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 24 2015 at 11:25am
Some facts that might help clear up some questions raised when one reads this Journal article:

The Middie Academy is not a new program; it used to be called Success Academy (grades 10-12) and Freshman Academy (grade 9) and has been housed in the Manchester Building. It is an alternative high school using online/blended learning where students complete courses at their own pace, with support from teachers and a counselor. It is one of the reasons for the increase in MHS' graduation rate.

Moving the Middie Academy out of the Manchester Building frees up classrooms for swing space for MHS students while MHS is renovated in stages. The other option for swing space would be temporary trailers (at a rental cost)(that would come out of the construction budget). It also allows for collaboration with Cincinnati State that will benefit our students.

The potential increase mentioned by the Treasurer from $65,000 to $130,000 is for the cost of College Credit Plus district wide, not Middie Academy. The only increased cost to Middie Academy program is the rent, which is instead of renting trailers.

College Credit Plus is what the State is now calling what used to be PSEO, Post Secondary Education Option, where high school students can take college classes for high school credit and also earn college credit. Under both programs, the school district is required to pay the college tuition for these students. But under the new program, eligibility has been expanded by state law to 7-12th graders, and the school district has to pay for college course books, too, not just tuition. The school district has no choice once the student is accepted by the college into the program. The State never provided funding for PSEO costs, and has not provided additional funding for the expanded College Credit Plus. Payments to the colleges are deducted from the general fund payments made to the district by the State.

Opinion now -- I believe it is good for the community and good for Ohio to provide students with more access and a variety of pathways to success after high school, through technical certification programs and 2-year degrees in addition to traditional college. Having more qualified, credentialed workers will help attract better jobs. My issue is with the way it has been implemented by the State as an unfunded mandate. It should be funded from money the State gives to higher education, not K-12 school districts, because it is providing college credits for free to students and their families.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vivian Moon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 24 2015 at 12:16pm
Thank you for the additional nformation Mrs Andrews
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 24 2015 at 2:27pm
Statement from Ms. Andrew:

College Credit Plus is what the State is now calling what used to be PSEO, Post Secondary Education Option, where high school students can take college classes for high school credit and also earn college credit. Under both programs, the school district is required to pay the college tuition for these students. But under the new program, eligibility has been expanded by state law to 7-12th graders, and the school district has to pay for college course books, too, not just tuition. The school district has no choice once the student is accepted by the college into the program. The State never provided funding for PSEO costs, and has not provided additional funding for the expanded College Credit Plus. Payments to the colleges are deducted from the general fund payments made to the district by the State

So. bottom line, the Middletown schools pay the college tuition/books for the high school student to take, and be given credit for college credit hours toward a degree. The Middleotown schools get their money to pay this tuition from the taxpayers property taxes. By deductive reasoning, the taxpayer is paying for a college education for a person other than an immediate family member, as is the traditional way of funding a college education, with the family members and the student benefiting from this directly. What does the taxpayer get out of this free money to the family in helping to provide this college education?

In essence, the state of Ohio has said, you, the district taxpayer, will provide the money to allow the high school family member of a family you don't know, a free tuition/book buying ride, and you, the taxpayer, will have no say in the matter. Does this sound right to any of you folks?

Statement from Ms. Andrew:

"Opinion now -- I believe it is good for the community and good for Ohio to provide students with more access and a variety of pathways to success after high school, through technical certification programs and 2-year degrees in addition to traditional college. Having more qualified, credentialed workers will help attract better jobs. My issue is with the way it has been implemented by the State as an unfunded mandate. It should be funded from money the State gives to higher education, not K-12 school districts, because it is providing college credits for free to students and their families"

But Ms. Andrew, do you think it is fair for the taxpayers to provide a college education to students when the parents are normally responsible for that? The student and family benefit from this, not the taxpayer. I say, let them fund their own college education like it was before. It might be "good for the community and good for Ohio" but it isn't necessarily a fair and equitable way for those who are forced to pay for others to go to college. That is a family decision and a family responsibility to finance it IMO. Whether the state gives it to education or the local school district pays, it all comes from forced taxes. No difference is there?
   
I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marianne Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 25 2015 at 11:03am
Just a few words about how funding for College Credit Plus works, because I believe there's a great deal of misunderstanding out there.   ORC 3365 addresses all of this, but in brief:   

The state allots a certain amount of funding each year per pupil to each district; this coming year it's about $5300. 
17% of that amount goes to the school district.  The remaining 83% is divided between the district and the higher education institutions based on where the student takes classes.  

Through ORC 3365, the state sets the price-tag for cost - between $40 - $160 a credit hour.  There are default amounts based on where and how the course is delivered.  If a student takes a college class on the campus or online with the college instructor, the default amount is $160; if the class is in the high school taught by the college instructor, the default is $80; if the class is in the high school taught by a high school teacher credentialed by the college, the default is $40.  

Some area higher education institutions have made agreements with local school districts to accept something other than the default amount established per delivery mode.  For example, a higher education institution might agree to accept $40 per credit hour regardless of delivery mode.  

Also, schools cannot charge students (nor districts) any additional fees or costs.  So, in the past, a higher education institution could collect an application fee from a PSEO student applying to participate.  Now they cannot.   That's important, because students can apply to as many colleges and universities as they want - for free - and those applications need to be processed.  Students need to complete any required placement testing.   Colleges and universities are absorbing these costs.   

The state default amounts are generally much less than what a college or university would receive per credit hour for a fully matriculated student.   

The districts and non public schools with students participating are responsible for textbook costs.  I have a feeling the state will need to examine whether it provides additional funding to districts to help offset these costs.  

Higher education institutions are receiving compensation from the state for educating a district's students.   I would not characterize it as the districts "paying" the colleges.   As I wrote at the beginning, it's a pie that is being divided by the state based on what institutions are educating a student.  

Overall, I think it's a tremendous opportunity for many students and a fantastic way to build partnerships between institutions of higher education and districts.   But I also think it's an incredibly complex program with ramifications that we are only beginning to discuss.   

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 25 2015 at 11:29am
The bottom line.....no matter how you perceive the funding, the taxpayer is paying for a high school student to receive a college education when that is a parent/family responsibility IMO.

The state gets it's $5300 per student from the taxpayer. The local districts get their funding from the taxpayer. And now, based on the fees received, as you have described, the universities have now joined in receiving money to deliver the subject instruction to the high school student.

Again the question......does anyone think this is right for the taxpayer to fund a college education for the high school student when it has always been financed privately through the family of the student? The taxpayer has always funded K-12, but now they are providing the financial source for an education beyond high school? Why?
I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marcia Andrew Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 25 2015 at 11:56am
Marianne, thank you for posting some additional information. I did not mean to imply that colleges are not sharing the cost burden for this program. I don't think that Columbus provided any extra funding to universities for this program, either. Viet Vet has a legitimate question whether state and local tax dollars should be allocated this way. I personally believe that providing access to higher ed to those that cannot afford it improves the economy and therefore benefits everyone indirectly. However, it is difficult for me to understand why there is not a financial need threshold for the program. Children of parents who can afford college are receiving free college credits on the same basis as children of the poorest parents.

However, school funding is even more complicated than what you post. While the State starts with a funding model of $5300 or so per student, due to funding caps and other issues, the amount of state funding that each district actually receives varies by district. Middletown City Schools actually only receives closer to $3000 per student (I don't have the exact amount handy). Payments to colleges for PSEO come out of that amount before the school district receives the remaining funding. It costs around $9500 per student to provide an education. If a student at the high school takes one class at MUM, they still have 6 classes at the high school that have to be staffed, plus a guidance counselor, and overhead like a principal, central office administrators to deal with all the changing state regulations, coaches and advisors for extracurriculars, utilities, janitors, transportation etc. Not to mention that, if Student A opts to take English at MUM, reducing one English class at MHS from 28 students to 27, no expenses have been saved by MHS.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Marianne Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 25 2015 at 1:40pm
Vet - I think you are asking a good question, but taxes have long supported education for students beyond K-12.   This is nothing new.  In the early twentieth century, you saw industry - university partnerships for research purposes, but at mid century (coinciding with WWII, of course), you have things like the 1945 report Science, The Endless Frontier. The federal government recognized that for the country to be successful, university research needed to be supported.  So you have things like the National Science Foundation being established in 1950.  The sort of work being funded by federal dollars (from taxpayers' contributions, of course) helps educate university students.    So, your tax dollars have been educating college students for a long time.   

Marcia, I wasn't suggesting that the state funding of districts was simple.  I just think it's important to recognize that when places like Cincinnati State, Sinclair, Miami, Wright State, etc. receive state tax dollars through CCP, it's because they are providing an education to a district's students.   I dislike the rhetoric that districts are "paying" these institutions, because I think that's an inaccurate statement.  

Your question about why there isn't an income threshold is a good one, but if you read ORC 3365.06, a family can choose through option A to be responsible for the full costs.  Of course, this would require a family saying, "We earn enough money to pay for college tuition for our son or daughter, so let's choose Option A."   



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