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* Monroe contract buoys Shoreline program

A unanimous vote in Monroe has ensured that more than 600 Shoreline Community College students can stay in school for the education and training they want and need to turn their lives around.

 

On Monday, July 20, the Monroe School Board voted unanimously to approve a five-year contract with Shoreline for the Career Education Options/Learning Center North program. The CEO/LCN program is a partnership between Shoreline and King County that gives high-school dropouts ages 16-21 a chance to return to school.

 

“We’re grateful to find an education partner that shares our commitment to helping these young people,” SCC President Lee Lambert said. “These students are making a personal decision to better their lives. CEO/LCN is a successful program and we thank the Monroe School Board members for wanting to be a part of that success.”

 

Monroe had a one-year agreement with Shoreline for this past school year, but the new pact adds a needed measure of stability with the five-year timeframe.

 

Monroe has a long history of thinking outside the box to help young people succeed,” said Rosemary O'Neil, communications director for the school district. “One size has never fit all and the Shoreline program offers another avenue for young people to gain the skills they need to be successful in whatever dreams they decide to follow.”

 

That an agreement is needed at all is a function of the state funding formula for these students.

 

In Washington, the state is obligated to provide an education through high school or age 21, whichever comes first. CEO/LCN students are under age 21, but due various circumstances, high-school based program aren’t an option. For so-called drop-out re-engagement programs such as CEO/LCN, the state funding that pay for the students comes through the K-12 system. To access those funds, Shoreline needs a K-12 public school system partner like Monroe.

 

“Without a partner like Monroe, we’d have to tell those students, ‘We’re closed,’” CEO program director Mariko Kakiuchi said.

 

State funding is based on the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) students in the program. Full time is defined as 15 credits in a college quarter. CEO/LCN serves more than 600 individuals a year coming to the program for education and training, which translates to funding at about the 290-FTE level, Kakiuchi said.

 

The agreement with Monroe means that each CEO/LCN student at Shoreline will also be, on paper at least, a student in the Monroe School District. Monroe will count the student for state tracking purposes, receive the state funding and then, after keeping a small administrative fee, pass the rest on to Shoreline.

 

“It means the college won’t count those FTEs, but there’s no reduction to our budget,” President Lambert said. “This comes at a good time when more students than ever are coming. Our summer student count was at an all-time high. Given the attention and focus on community colleges from President Obama on down, that trend looks like it will continue.”

SCC/Jim Hills

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