Rural school districts already provide free community college

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

It’s a small town with a feed store and a definite country music feel. But the school board in Gaston understands modern economic realities and the need to prepare their kids for the future.

Gaston has become the latest school district to offer students a fifth year of high school – as a way of giving students “free” college courses. Students will now have the option of “attending” high school for five years while actually taking courses at a community college in the fifth year. The district will continue to collect state school payments as long as the students are still enrolled in high school. This money is what covers college tuition.

Gaston Superintendent David Beasley told me he questioned the ethics of using state K-12 money for college scholarships. But in the end, he concluded it was the “right thing to do for our kids.”

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