A program that helps high school students who have performed beneath their expected ability will be offered for three years instead of four due to budget concerns.
The Advancement Via Individual Determination Program, better known as AVID, currently serves 63 students in all four grades, but it will no longer be offered freshman year, the Nicolet School Board decided April 6.
Jeff Dellutri, business administrator, said cutting one year will save $25,000. The program costs more than $50,000.
School officials are looking for ways to cut $1.3 million from the 2009-10 proposed budget, District Administrator Rick Monroe said.
The program is more than numbers, said Bilquana Sanders, a junior in the AVID program.
"We're talking about the difference between a nobody and a somebody," she said.
The board decided to cut funding for freshman year partly because it is difficult to identify students for the program. They had been recommended by middle school teachers who were guessing how the students would fare in high school. They will be chosen by Nicolet teachers during freshman year.
But parent Alice Whaley of Glendale said changing the recruiting model might have fixed that. She opposed dropping funding for freshman year.
"You're setting them up for failure if you're not giving them support in that freshman year," she said.
Nicolet Assistant Principal Tara Villalobos, who administers the AVID program, said students in the program have increased grade-point averages by five-tenths of a point from middle school to high school seniors.
"That is huge, so we are very excited," she said.
She also said all the graduating seniors in AVID have been accepted by the colleges of their choice.
Jane Ford-Stewart can be reached at (262) 446-6607.
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