GREENCASTLE -- Greencastle High School students at risk of becoming dropouts will soon have the option of night classes to recover their credits.
Through a grant from the Western Indiana Knoy Learning Center, 17 schools across five counties now have the option of offering online night classes for students running out of options. The grant program offers the schools $7,750 per year to start the program.
GHS Principal Randy Corn came before the Greencastle Community School Board with the proposal to offer night classes at Wednesday evening's board meeting.
Corn said counselors at GHS have identified 47 students currently enrolled who could benefit from these offerings. Of these, eight are fifth year seniors, 17 are seniors behind on credits, 13 are students who should be juniors who are behind on credits and nine others are parents or expectant parents.
The proposal is for the classes to meet two nights each week, once for English and once for mathematics. Between times, though, the students would have the opportunity to work from anywhere with Internet access.
The proposed software would not simply help students with the material from previously failed courses, but would actually tailor the training to each student's specific deficiencies in the course.
"Typically when a kid fails a course, he doesn't fail the whole course, he fails parts of it," Corn said.
The big selling point to the board was the program will cost the corporation no money at this time. There are several avenues through which the software is already available, whether it be Knoy's software licenses, Area 30's licenses or software the school already has.
Pay for instructors would come out of the grant from Knoy.
While the board had some reservations about the interest of students who are already struggling, Corn said many of these kids began to have a reality check late in their high school careers. He believes there will especially be interest among parents and expectant parents as well as seniors who face not graduating.
"We're in the business of getting kids high school diplomas that are meaningful and help get them through life," Corn said.
There was also concern that the school must meet certain numbers to maintain the funding. However, here administrators were adamant that it is worth a try, especially when there is no cost to the school.
"If we don't get this up and we don't try, 0 percent of them are going to succeed from this," Corn said. "I've missed every ball I haven't swung the bat at."
"Why would we not offer it even if there's just five kids?" Assistant Superintendent Dawn Puckett asked. "We have nothing to lose."
The board approved the proposal, and Corn is moving forward with the plan. He hopes to be offering the classes by the week of Sept. 27.
Wednesday's meeting also included the 2011 budget hearing. Once again, budgeting for next year will not be easy with limited funds from the state and an economy that continues to struggle. Superintendent Bob Green said the best the school can hope for is the budget numbers to stay the same as last year.
He pointed out to the board how drops in assessed valuation in the district have hurt the schools in recent years. In 2008, assessed valuation was $670 million, but the 2011 estimated is $425 million.