By Janie Southard
Computers for the on-line learning lab at the Mercer County Alternative School have been set up by West Central Learning Academy (WCLA).
The lab will accommodate 14 students. Should enrollment increase and more equipment be necessary, another lab will be established by the academy.
Discussions on the lab were held at a recent meeting of the governing board of the Mercer County Educational Services Center (ESC).
The academy will supply the on-line teachers, as well as the computers and the connection for $20 per day per student, which amounts to about $3,600 per student during the school year.
Students will remain enrolled in their home schools, which will keep the state-provided $5,280 per pupil with the home district. The home school then will pay the educational service center $3,600 for each student sent to the alternative school. The alternative school operates in the back portion of the Galleria in Celina and is for students who are either struggling to graduate high school or want to graduate quickly. The program helps students earn their diplomas or GEDs.
The board also heard an update in the feasibility study now underway to determine if centralizing the ESC's many programs at the old Franklin school building in Montezuma is cost effective.
ESC programs currently are housed at the Otis Building, the Galleria and at Cheryl Ann.
Local realtor Deb Borns submitted an appraisal of the Otis Building in the amount of $210,000. The board will own the Otis Building outright by the end of 2005.
More information is being gathered on this matter by the facilities subcommittee.
The board has signed a lease agreement with Bowling Green State University to occupy classroom space at the Galleria at a cost of $300 per 12-week term. The university will hold classes in education administration this year on Wednesday evenings.
The grants that have supported the American sign language class will not be available this year. ESC officials are studying other methods to fund the program so the tuition price of $150 per student need not be increased.