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Batavia School Board considers charging for dual-credit textbooks

Updated: January 3, 2013 6:25AM

BATAVIA — School District 101 will expand the number of dual-credit courses Batavia High School students can take without requiring those students to buy their own textbooks, the Board of Education decided Tuesday.

Board member Joseph Purpura proposed making students in Batavia High School classes that also grant credits from Waubonsee Community College buy their textbooks for those classes from Waubonsee or on the Internet, rather than using books purchased by the school district, which spends about $6,000 per year on dual-credit course books.

“The problem I have is that we are funding books for this program, and don’t think that’s necessarily the best use of that money,” Purpura said. “We’re saving students a substantial amount of money in their first-quarter college careers, and I don’t think it’s too much to ask for them to pick up the cost of their books.”

Board member Tina Bleakley agreed. “Six thousand dollars doesn’t seem like a lot, but we could be using it in the classroom. Dual-credit courses are still finance better for students than taking those classes in college,” she said.

Students taking Advanced Placement classes, who get the chance to earn college credit by taking nationally-administered AP exams, pay for part of their textbooks as part of their course fees, said Assistant Superintendent Kris Monn.

Board member Jack Hinterlong countered that textbook provision for dual-credit courses should be treated the same as book provision for special education courses. “As a parent, I’ve already paid property taxes and now you’re going to hit me with another fee to buy textbooks? I’d think twice about charging for dual-credit books when we don’t charge special needs students for the special books that they need,” he said.

This year five dual-credit classes have a combined enrollment of 282 students, more than seven times the number of students who took dual-credit courses in 2011-12, said Batavia High School principal Lisa Hichens. Students pay $5 per Waubonsee credit they earn, instead of the $97 they would pay by taking the same classes at Waubonsee. Those credits are guaranteed to transfer to other Illinois universities, she said.

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