District 230 board member Dave O'Connor urges Sandburg parents to consider having their students take dual credit courses to save college tuition money at the Jan. 26 meeting. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

District 230 board member Dave O'Connor urges Sandburg parents to consider having their students take dual credit courses to save college tuition money at the Jan. 26 meeting. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Sandburg/MVCC dual courses could save plenty of money

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By Jeff Vorva

The price of college tuition keeps going up and shows no sign of ever going down.

Thus, District 230 Board Member Dave O’Connor is urging Sandburg parents with college-bound students to take a long look at the school’s dual credit program with Moraine Valley.

“We get students here who will leave here with nine or 12 credit hours before they hit any college,” he said at the board’s Jan. 26 meeting. “I don’t think parents understand this program 100 percent.

“When parents are writing checks for 20, 30, 40 or 50 grand, if they knew that Junior could have perhaps knocked out a semester and saved the family 20 grand, I have a feeling there would be a bigger push into these programs.”

The plan is simple.

“Dual credit courses allow students to earn college credit while in high school,” said Katie McMillan, the Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services. “Students who earn 15 hours or more of college credit before graduating from high school are two times more likely to complete a post-secondary program.

“These courses significantly reduce the cost of higher education, begin the transition to college early, and expand academic options for college-bound high school students.”

Dual courses offered at the Orland Park school are Geology, American Government, Modes of Rhetoric and Composition and Computer Aided Design.

Sandburg geology teacher Christopher Milo, who also teaches at Moraine Valley, is a big fan of the initiative.

“Whatever grade they get in my geology class – that goes on the Moraine transcript and that goes to the college they choose to go to,” Milo said. “There is a fee for some classes but the grades transfer to all Illinois colleges and universities and most out-of-state schools.”

So far, it is only offered at Sandburg, but that could change in the future.

Level projections

District 230 Assistant Superintendent for Business Services John Lavelle revealed enrollment projections for Sandburg, Stagg and Andrew and it appears there are no huge increases or decreases on the horizon.

The district as a whole has 7,752 students for fiscal year 2023. In 2024, it’s projected to increase to 7,777 but takes a downturn to 7,356 for 2028.

Sandburg is currently at 2,920 student and will increase to 2,980 in 2028, according to the projections.

Stagg is at 2,543 and could drop to 2,352 by 2028.

Andrew, which has a smattering of Orland Park students, is at 2,289 in 2023 and finishes at a projected 2,204 in 2028.

Lavelle said data is collected from area elementary schools and fed into a projection model that calculated a standard five-year cohort ratio.

“Please note that these are estimates based on historical data and cannot predict future shifts and changes,” he told the board.

Projections can be used for budgeting and financial matters plus facility planning.

Sub raises

The district will increase the pay for substitute teachers from $140 to $150 per day starting in August.

“In September 2021, we made the teacher substitute rate $140 per day in an effort to keep up with area schools and address the district’s substitute shortage,” Lavelle said. “Competition continues to be fierce and, after some research, the recommendation is to move to $150.”

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