DALLAS -- Students enrolling in Dallas School District's popular Extended Campus program next year will likely have to complete more credits to earn their diplomas.
Dallas School Board members heard a proposal Monday night to increase the required number of credits for an extended diploma from 32 to 36.
Extended Campus, through a partnership with Chemeketa Community College, allows students to take a year of college at no cost to the student. Since launching the program in 2005, 300 Dallas students have enrolled in the program.
Brian Green, the Dallas High School assistant principal who oversees the program, said the reason behind the credit increase is to ensure students who complete the program also have enough credits to earn a degree or certificate.
When enrolling in the program, students work with a Chemeketa adviser to craft an education plan that includes earning either a certificate, associate degree or transfer degree.
Green said with 32 credits required to earn an extended degree, students were just a few credits shy of completing their plan. They would have to finish the plan on their own.
"This (requiring 36 credits) will allow students to start and finish a degree program," he said.
The 36 credits include 24 credits required to earn a high school diploma, plus up to 12 more in a degree or certificate program.
Green said college credits are converted to high school credit for some classes using a conversion scale. Depending on the type of class, each high school credit equals three to five college credits.
The changes will require the board to approve new program policies, which will be considered at a future meeting.
The board also approved a one-year contract with a new online school, Education 2020, to provide online courses to students.
At a cost of $40,000 per year, the district could offer the program to any student in grades six through 12 living in the district for full- or part-time enrollment.
The district's current online program is used mostly for students needing to recover credits and is limited to 20 students at a time at a cost of $15,000 per year.
Dallas Superintendent Christy Perry said Education 2020 is a step up from that program, allowing more students access to online courses.
She said the district would be monitoring participation, cost and success of the program during the next school year.
"This is our attempt to find more opportunities for kids," Perry said. "This shouldn't replace quality, good instruction, it should enhance it."