Superintendent Jack Dale recommended to the school board this week that the school system continue to require students to take Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams, if enrolled in the course, but eliminate the related test fees.
Under Dale's proposal, parents would be refunded for all test fees that have already been collected. The elimination of the testing fees will cost the schools $2 million dollar in lost revenue. Last year the school district announced that students would be charged $75 for each advanced placement course they took.
Based on the third quarter budget review, the loss of revenue for the school system can be accounted for by changes in revenue and expenditures in the budget. Sales tax revenue for the 2011 budget is estimated to increase by $3.0 million in addition to increases already shown by the mid-year budget review.
Additionally the school system expects to pay $2 million dollars less in compensation this year, because of increased turnover among school staff. The proposal is awaiting a vote from the school board.
The school system was forced to change its policy regarding AP test fees after Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said in an opinion in late January, arguing that charging students to take a mandatory exam if enrolled in the course was illegal.