College district to keep supporting Early College High

COSTA MESA — The Coast Community College District trustees voted Wednesday night to continue supporting a high school that allows students to earn college credits.

The trustees voted unanimously to continue a memorandum of understanding with the Newport-Mesa Unified School District to operate Early College High School.

Early College, which opened in August 2006, allows students to get a high school diploma while earning either an associate's degree or a vocational certificate, or completing two years of college credits toward a bachelor's degree. The school currently is based on Coastline Community College's Costa Mesa campus on East Mesa Verde Drive.

The memorandum extends the agreement by one more year to June 1, 2012. The original agreement, which was for five years, expired July 1.

The college district is being more prudent with its financial obligations by moving toward shorter-term commitments during uncertain fiscal times, Coastline's Costa Mesa campus Dean Ted Boehler has said.

Despite the one-year deal, Coastline has included Early College in its long-term plans, Coastline spokeswoman Michelle Ma has said, adding that the school is slated to move to the college's Newport Beach facility, which opens in fall 2012.

The agreement's expiration coincides with the end of a $500,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The program will stay intact with only minor changes, such as fewer art classes, to focus on courses that are transferable to four-year colleges.

The new agreement continues Coastline's obligation to cover students' college tuition, rental textbooks and field trips related to college classes. The college is still working out how to cover the costs of the rental textbooks, Boehler has said.

The agreement lists Coastline's financial obligation at $40,000 for a part-time counselor and an administrative support employee.

Newport-Mesa Unified's obligations stay pretty much the same, with the addition of another full-time employee, according to N-MUSD spokeswoman Laura Boss.

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