A new Liberty County Board of Education fund allocation will allow more high school students to take tests that could earn them credit for college classes.
During a meeting on Tuesday, the board unanimously approved a request to pay Advanced Placement testing fees for all students to take as many tests as they wish.
Liberty County School System Superintendent Dr. Judy Scherer presented the request, and said the issue came up during the board’s recent retreat but that it needed to be confirmed so principals could let students know.
“Currently, the state pays for one AP exam per student who qualifies for free and reduced lunch,” Scherer said. “As a system, we have been paying for an additional AP exam, one for every student, so this will be you paying for all the AP exams.”
The amount for testing fees based on current enrollment in AP classes is about $6,000 for this year in addition to the previous allocation for a single exam, according to Assistant Superintendent Jason Rogers.
Each AP exam is $87, according to the College Board’s AP Central website, apcentral.collegeboard.com. Schools normally retain $8 of that fee to help cover administrative costs for testing.
The move would help the district increase its AP offerings as well as numbers of students who enroll in classes and complete tests, Scherer said.
Board member Becky Carter said she supports the idea because it can only strengthen the program.
Vice Chairwoman Verdell Jones asked what percent of students are taking advantage of the one test that is currently covered, and said she would like to see more data about enrollment, testing rates and scores.
Board Chairwoman Lily Baker said when her children were in school, there was little information shared about the district covering testing fees. She said the schools need to increase their outreach and make more students and parents aware that the tests will be available at the board’s expense.
The board also approved a student-meal price increase that will take effect next year. Paid lunch rates will increase next year to $1.65 for elementary students and $1.90 for middle and high students. Prices for breakfast, adult meals and reduced lunch will not change.
According to a memo from the nutrition department, the federal Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 requires that the fully paid student must be charged the difference in the reimbursement rates for free meals and the reimbursement rate for paid meals so that paid meals are not being subsidized by the free and reduced reimburse-
Currently, the Liberty County School System has a difference of 83 cents it must increase the meals. However, the law caps the required increase in the average paid lunch at 10 cents per year; to make up the difference, staff recommends the board increase each year by 10 cents until the difference is met.
In other news, the board also:
• Approved the surplus of 11 buses that “either do not run or are in such a poor state of repair that fixing them is not fiscally prudent,” according to a memo from Tony Norce, director of transportation. The buses will be listed on GovDeals.com with a minimum bid of $1,500 each. If they do not sell, they can be sold for scraps at $1,700 each.
• Approved a contract amendment with Altman+Barrett Architects for modifications and renovations to signage for the pre-K center and main office. Based on 5.5 percent of the estimated construction cost of $500,000, staff anticipates the architect fee will be $27,500.
• Approved another contract amendment with Altman+Barrett for master planning services for the Coastal Academy and maintenance and transportation facilities on Highway 84 and Techwood Court. The fee for this service is $4,200.