LFCC class costs soar to $400, school board told

Rappahannock County students will no longer receive discounted dual-enrollment tuition at Lord Fairfax Community College, Jackson district board member Amy Hitt reported at the school board’s monthly meeting July 9.

RCHS students wanting to take college-level classes at LFCC had previously enjoyed a heavily discounted tuition price – $75 per class, per student. As Hitt said at the meeting, however, LFCC has chosen to discontinue that discount, increasing the price substantially: Each class now costs $400.

New Rappahannock County Public Schools superintendent Donna Matthews (middle) takes a quick break from her first school board meeting to pose with board members (from left) Chris Ubben, Aline Johnson, Amy Hitt and chairman John Lesinski. Photo by Matt Wingfield.
New Rappahannock County Public Schools superintendent Donna Matthews (middle) takes a quick break from her first school board meeting to pose with board members (from left) Chris Ubben, Aline Johnson, Amy Hitt and chairman John Lesinski. Photo by Matt Wingfield.

That increase presents a problem for the seven RCHS students currently signed up for dual-enrollment classes; the price increase takes effect on July 24, something the students (and Rappahannock’s school division) were unaware of when they originally enrolled in the classes.

“They either have to pay the $400 by then, or they can’t attend the classes,” Hitt said.

New superintendent Donna Matthews, whose tenure officially began July 1 when she took over from interim superintendent Kathleen Grove, spoke on the matter, saying that while she agreed it was an unfortunate decision by LFCC, the RCHS handbook made it clear that all costs of dual-enrollment were to be covered by students’ parents.

Hitt suggested the school could try and cover the difference in cost for this year’s enrollees to help soften the financial blow. Matthews said she was happy to look into it, but wasn’t optimistic that she could find the funds in this year’s school budget.

No final decision was made at Tuesday’s meeting.

It wasn’t all bad news Tuesday night, however, as the board officially hired Mark Heinle as the new varsity football coach. Heinle is from Washington, by way of San Diego, Calif., where he accumulated 15 years experience as a football coach.

His coaching experience has ranged from Pop Warner to high school varsity, with his last coaching stay at Mt. Carmel High School in California, where he was the offensive coordinator. There, he introduced an offense that led to record-setting rushing and offensive performances and the end of an eight-year playoff drought.

Heinle also has experience on the defensive side of the ball, serving as defensive coordinator at San Marcos High School and line coach at Mira Mesa High School. Heinle has logged more than 250 hours in coaching clinics and 35-plus hours as a coaching clinic presenter.

In addition to coaching the varsity football team, Heinle is interested in taking an active leadership role in the Junior Panther football program, looking to ensure the continued success of the football program. “The future of any program lies in the success of the lower level programs,” Heinle said.

In addition to attending off-season workouts, Heinle plans to conduct a football mini-camp the last week of July, leading into the first day of football practice on Aug. 5, and says he is committed to ensuring the team’s academic, as well as athletic, success.

The board approved a number of administrative requests Tuesday night, including one by 4-H coordinator Jennifer Kapsa allowing the center to use two of the school’s vehicles for transportation for the new 4-H travel camps. Kapsa’s request pointed out that Grove had already approved two county buses for such a use.

RCHS principal Michael Tupper pointed out that the difference in gas mileage between a full-sized bus and one of the fleet’s smaller ones would be negligible, and recommended the camps just use a full-size bus.

The board voted, 4-0, to allow the camps to use two school buses for transportation, on the conditions that they be returned with a full tank of gas and be properly insured. Board member Paul Brown was not in attendance.

The board then set about determining this year’s cost of tuition for families outside the county, ultimately unanimously accepting Matthews’ calculated figure of $6,790.