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Collins Career Center to get funding boost

Jul. 03, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

GETAWAY, Ohio -- After being flat-funded for the past four years, Collins Career Center will get an increase of about 1 percent in state funds this year and may get another 1 percent increase next year, said Steve Dodgion, the vocational school's superintendent.

"After not getting any increase in funds since 2009, it looks like we'll get a slight increase in funding this year," Dodgion said. "It will be in the neighborhood of 1 percent. Most of the local schools are getting flat-funded. It looks like the goal of the legislature is to put money in private schools. I'm opposed to that. The state is giving them an advantage, and that's wrong. I believe in public education. "

The increased funding is included in the $61.7 billion, two-year budget that became effective Monday.

One big change approved by the legislature is a requirement that the boards overseeing local vocational schools will no longer be elected but instead will be appointed, said State Rep. Ryan Smith. He doesn't like that non-elected people from the private sector would have taxing authority.

"I don't like it," Smith said. "It's disconcerting to me."

"They softened that language late in the process last week," Dodgion said. "I don't anticipate any changes in our board members. They have experience in business and industry and the private sector. They can serve."

Another positive change is the establishment of the Lawrence County Academy that will be housed at Collins, Dodgion said.

"The goal is to get those students involved in preparing for a career," he said. "We're really excited about it."

The academy is geared to getting 50 or 60 current home-schooled students involved in the programming at the vocational school. Currently about 200 students in Lawrence County aren't enrolled in public or parochial schools, he said.

"We hope the academy grows from there," Dodgion said.

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