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Board approves tuition rates

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By Kevin Koelling, Managing Editor

Budget process progresses for Tell City schools

TELL CITY - Tell City-Troy Township School Board members approved in a special meeting Tuesday a tuition schedule recommended by Schools Superintendent Ron Etienne. He said, however, uncertainty remains as to whether tuition will be charged at all after the first of the year.

"It's complicated, with the rates changing at the end of '08," Etienne said of the list of tuition charges he provided.

As The News reported July 28, House Enrolled Act 1001, enacted earlier this year, shifts the burden of paying school corporations' general-fund expenses to the state level. Some who have read the 800-page bill, whose main stated goal was property-tax relief, found that tuition payments required of students crossing district boundaries had been omitted.

Some, like an attorney who attended a Cannelton School Board meeting last month to assist in a bond-issuance effort, said they don't think the omission was accidental.

"I think it's a move toward open enrollment," said Karl Sturbaum, who practices law in Indianapolis.

Tuition costs are lower for students enrolled before Sept. 12, this year's official student-count day on which state funding is based. The schedule Etienne provided shows charges set at $322 per semester for in-state kindergarten students enrolled by then, $644 for first- through third-graders, $777 for fourth- through 12th-graders and $608 for special-education students. The rates jump to $1,802, $3,603, $3,736 and $3,567, respectively, for students enrolled between Sept. 13 and the end of the year.

Beginning in January, they'll drop to $1,480 for kindergartners and $2,959 for all others, according to the schedule, but Etienne said those figures could change. Some people examining the legislation think tuition will disappear entirely for in-state students, he said, while others say some tuition will be charged.

Out-of-state students will continue to pay full tuition, which is $2,959 for kindergartners and $5,918 for all others, according to the schedule.

Board member Tom Holm asked if the corporation would be responsible for transporting a Perry Central Community School student "who wanted to migrate to Tell City."

Etienne said it wouldn't, and wouldn't have to accept any student it didn't have space for or anyone who'd been expelled elsewhere.

Assistant Superintendent Bruce Chinn, who handles transportation issues for the corporation, said if a parent from another district gets a student to a Tell City bus stop, and room exists on the bus, it could transport the student.

In other business, no one appeared at public hearings scheduled to hear comments on a proposed corporation budget, bus-replacement plan or capital-projects plan, the reason for the special meeting.

The board plans to meet again at 5 p.m. Sept. 9 to adopt the 2009 budget.

In personnel actions, Etienne expressed appreciation to Bob Day, whose half-day employment to teach math was approved Aug. 12. Day had come out of retirement, but asked to be relieved, Etienne said, explaining, "he just said it was too hard on him physically."

The board approved the employment of Rachel Alvey to the half-time position for the remainder of the semester.

Also approved was the volunteer junior-high and high-school cross-country coaching services of Kelly Hollinden and Brian Beckort, Mike Phillips and Coy Zuelly in football and Chris Adams in soccer. Chris Page will serve as Healthy Schools Initiative coordinator at William Tell Elementary School two periods per day.

Kyle Miles will coach science-bowl students at William Tell and Amanda Napier will lead media-club students. Cheryl Hawhee's yearbook guidance was also approved.