City schools tuition to increase

Published 10:05 am Friday, April 17, 2015

NW0417 City School Board Meeting

Attending the Elizabethton City School system for students outside of the city limits is going to get a little more expensive for the next school year.

The Elizabethton Board of Education unanimously approved increasing tuition by $100 for elementary and junior high school students but tuition for high school students will remain the same. Fees increased by $5 on all grade levels.

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Starting with the 2015-2016 school year, the tuition will be $800 for students in kindergarten through fifth grade; $400 for students in sixth through eighth grade and $300 for high school students. Fees will be $20 for students in kindergarten through eighth grade and $25 for high school students.

“It has been quite some time since we increased tuition,” interim Superintendent Corey Gardenhour said. “The increase will be divided up among the schools for instructional materials and supplies. We have a good product and excellent teachers. Our tuition should represent that.”

The increase in fees will also be used for supplies, he said.

Other school systems in the region have “much higher” tuitions that are uniform across the grade levels, Gardenhour said.

Board member Tyler Fleming said he hoped the tuition schedule would be reviewed annually.

“I support the reason we are doing this,” Fleming said. “I hope this is something we look at logically on a yearly basis. I want us to be fair and balanced to all the students in the system.”

Student numbers should also be considered before any additional tuition-paying students are accepted, board member Susan Peters said.

“If we have too many students in the classroom, it becomes a detriment to learning, and the quality of education goes down,” she said.

The school system has guidelines for classroom size and maximum numbers, set by the government, that cannot be exceeded, Gardenhour said.

“We will not be over capacity in the classrooms,” he said.

The board also approved the adoption of new math textbooks for all grade levels. The new textbooks are consumable, which means they will be used up each school year. The only subjects not included in the purchase will be the upper level math classes like calculus and trigonometry.

The school system was facing the challenge of not knowing what changes would be made to the education standards for math classes over the next few years, he said.

“We have been told there will probably be new standards for the 2016-2017 school year,” VanHuss said. “With consumable textbooks, the students use them for one year and then they are discarded. The company sends out new textbooks every year and they are automatically updated to meet any changes in requirements or standards.”

The system will be applying for a waiver from the state to continue using the current textbooks, and to add supplemental materials if the standards change for the upper level classes not included in the purchase.

“The teachers already use supplemental materials in those classes, so they are more than willing to use those if they need to,” VanHuss said.

The board also approved a contract with East Tennessee State University to allow interns from the College of Public Health to work with the school system.