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'Wash' system fixes funding concern for BOCHES program

May 19, 2014 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

The Central Wyoming College Board of Cooperative Higher Educational Services has solved the funding problems it faced last year due to increased enrollment.

During its meeting March 27, the BOCHES board voted in favor of a "wash" system that will allow the program to continue offering free, unlimited credit hours to high school students taking college classes. The CWC Board of Trustees approved the plan during its regular meeting in April.

New system

According to Jackie Meeker, dual credit program director for CWC BOCHES, local school districts now will cover tuition and fees for high schoolers enrolled at CWC. In return, CWC will pay school districts the same amount of money for use of local facilities as part of the program.

"CWC will no longer reimburse school districts a portion of the tuition collected, and CWC will no longer retain any tuition or fees collected for concurrent enrollment courses," Meeker wrote in a letter to the CWC board.

In addition, BOCHES will reimburse CWC for the program's on-campus operating expenses, which previously were paid for as part of the fee for college tuition.

Meeker said her organization uses office space and utilities at the college, and BOCHES students take advantage of the school's online tutoring services, library and technical help. CWC's business and registration offices also do extra work to support dual enrollment.

"CWC will now invoice CWC BOCHES directly for these costs," Meeker said.

She added that the new system currently is in place in Teton County, and it "works quite well" there.

Last fall, Meeker met with area public school officials, telling them it would be difficult for her to balance her budget in the future without pursuing other funding options or limiting credit hours available to students. She said the financial difficulties arose as a result of an increase in enrollment in BOCHES, which has more than doubled since the program's inception in 2005.

One idea was to ask local school districts to levy mills on behalf of CWC BOCHES, but Meeker said that move will not be necessary with the new "wash" system.

Funding

The BOCHES program in Fremont County is funded by a half-mill levied by CWC. The half-mill will bring in about $560,000 for 2014-2015, Meeker said.

About $28,000 of the total will be used to cover an expected budget shortfall in fiscal year 2014, she continued. About $141,000 will be dedicated to operating costs, $129,000 will be allocated for expenses incurred at CWC and $192,000 will go toward "direct student benefit" like textbooks and other supplies. The remaining $70,000 will be set aside for professional development for local high school teachers, a requirement of the National Alliance for Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships -- BOCHES' accrediting body.

The program also serves students in Hot Springs County and is funded by a quarter-mill levied by the public school district in Thermopolis. Meeker said the quarter-mill will produce about $59,000 for 2014-2015, but BOCHES doesn't expect to spend that much in Hot Springs County.

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Central Wyoming College