Eastern will cut funding to Model Lab causing the $500 tuition increase for the 2013-2014 academic year. Another $500 increase will be charged the following year. Photo by David Rigel

Eastern will cut funding to Model Lab causing the $500 tuition increase for the 2013-2014 academic year. Another $500 increase will be charged the following year.
Photo by David Rigel

BY: KASEY TYRING
progress@eku.edu

The future of Model Laboratory School is no longer in jeopardy.

Model could have been closed as a result of the strategic budget cuts said James Dantic, Model’s director.

The Board of Regents approved $500 tuition for the 2013-2014 school year with an additional $500 increase the following year.

“As both a Model parent and Model educator, I don’t want parents to pay anymore than they must,” Dantic said. “The increase in tuition will place a greater financial burden on parents to send their children to Model. The challenge in this tuition increase is that it comes without a reciprocal increase in programs, resources, facility enhancements or staff.”

By raising the tuition by $500 the first year, Eastern will be saving about $350,000. The increase in the 2014-2015 year will save the university another $350,000. The two tuition increases would replace more than half the $1.2 million Eastern gives Model every year.

“There are two fundamental ways to balance a budget that is costing the University a nominal $1.2 million: raise revenues or cut expenses,” James Street co-chair of the strategic reallocation task force said. “It appeared that some elasticity existed in the Model tuition while there wasn’t a source elsewhere in the Model budget to cut significantly and keep the school operational as an asset to the College of Education.”

Eastern students log more than 10,000 undergraduate study hours each year for more than 20 different departments of the university.

While the required tuition increase is a much better outcome than shutting the school down completely, Dantic said the decision presents challenges to Model families because it compares Model to private schools.

“Model is probably more ‘public’ than other public schools in Kentucky due to its additional responsibilities beyond [Pre-Kindergarten] through 12 instruction in providing EKU undergraduate experiential and educational requirements associated with their university coursework.” Dantic said. “We need to be careful about avoiding any perception that we are a private school based upon a narrow interpretation of student tuition which only funds a portion of our budget.  Though our parents pay tuition, Model should not be considered a private school any more that EKU would be considered private due to the tuition which it requires of its undergraduate and graduate students.”

Like private schools, Model families pay tuition. Unlike private schools, Model must abide by federal and state regulations for public schools and the teachers must be licensed by the state. Model is also required to test student performance by state assessments.

Street said Model does not pay for their building or utilities so Eastern is not leaving Model on its own.

Malcolm Frisbie, a member of the board of regents at Eastern, sends his children to Model.  He believes the tuition increase will be tough for parents but Model will still be worth the extra money.

“With two children enrolled at Model the proposed tuition increase there will hit us pretty hard, but Model has wonderful teachers,” Frisbie said. “The opportunity for high school students to easily work EKU classes into their schedules is very beneficial. And the learning community that Model faculty and parents have created is great. Even at the higher tuition level, Model will remain an educational bargain.”

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