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VACTE student count goes up

Education News

Despite having no intergovernmental agreements with two of its three member school districts, Valley Academy for Career and Technology Education has increased its enrollment in satellite and central campus programs over last year.

VACTE superintendent Bob Weir presented data on enrollment during the VACTE Governing Board meeting Tuesday, Sept. 5.

At Camp Verde Unified School District, currently the only local district to have signed an IGA with VACTE, average daily enrollment has increased by 10 students, from 58 to 68.

At Sedona-Oak Creek School District, which Weir predicted will soon sign an IGA with VACTE, average daily enrollment has increased by 17 students, from 35 to 52. Even without an IGA, SOCSD has been accommodating about allowing students access to VACTE programs.

According to Weir, Mingus Union High School District “won’t give [VACTE] the data because we have no IGA.”

As a result, Weir has been unable to determine how many students are attending career and technical education courses that may qualify for VACTE funding.

Central programs, those offered by VACTE at locations other than CVUSD, SOCSD and MUHSD facilities, have experienced an even greater increase in attendance. Last year, VACTE had 34 students enrolled in its central programs. This year, the figure has risen to 56.

“We’ve doubled our enrollment in central programs,” Weir said. “I’m pleased with what we’ve done, and I believe we have strong community support.”

According to Weir, enrollment could be even better. Waiting on IGAs from SOCSD and MUHSD, despite the former district’s willingness to allow VACTE staff access to students for courses and marketing purposes, has left its mark, impacting overall enrollment.

For Weir, the benefit of central programs is obvious: They allow VACTE to pay its administration, facilities maintenance and other costs so that member school districts can receive a greater percentage of VACTE’s funding per student.

The agreement CVUSD signed allots 70 percent to the district and 30 percent to VACTE for attendance in CVUSD’s satellite programs. Weir said that if central programs generate more revenue through increased attendance, that split may rise in CVUSD’s favor.

Assuming that VACTE can eventually work out the same 70/30-percent split IGA with SOCSD and MUHSD, Weir estimates that SOCSD will receive $174,000 in 2017-18, a $1,500 reduction from last year, and MUHSD will receive $337,000, a $1,000 reduction.

According to Weir, both SOCSD and MUHSD ended last school year with surpluses moneys left over from VACTE: $59,000 in SOCSD’s case and $49,000 in MUHSD’s.

“Ultimately, their money is going to increase,” Weir said. “[The central programs are] showing that it’s working already.”

This spring, the Arizona Auditor General’s Office began investigating the financial management of VACTE during the time period Weir’s predecessor’s tenure.

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