Rock Hill middle school students who need to attend summer school to keep from failing a grade level will have to pay for it, Superintendent Lynn Moody said last week.
Students this summer will be charged $100 for up to three classes.
School officials blame cuts in state money that pays for the summer program.
"I hate that we're having to charge the kids," said Sheila Huckabee, executive director of secondary education. Funding "has been cut to the point where we no longer have money to pay."
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What's left of the state money that pays for programs like summer school is going to teacher salaries, Huckabee said.
The money that students pay this summer will go to hire teachers for the program at $20 an hour.
Since 1999, Rock Hill schools have offered free summer classes to middle schoolers, Huckabee said. High school students have always paid -- $200. Elementary schools don't offer summer classes.
Middle-schoolers who finish the year with a failing grade in math, language arts, science or social studies can make up no more than three of those over the summer. Those who fail four must repeat the grade.
More than 400 students usually sign up.
Huckabee said she doesn't know how many of last year's attendees received free or reduced-price lunch.
The school district, she said, will work with families who can't afford the $100 by devising payment plans or scholarships.
No student will be turned away, she said.
The Rock Hill district is the only one of York County's four school systems to have offered free summer school for middle schoolers.
Fort Mill schools offer English and math classes and charge students $100, said Marty McGinn, director of secondary education. The district offers discounts to students on free and reduced-price lunch -- $50 and $75, respectively.
Seventh- and eighth-graders in Clover schools pay $150 for computer-based classes.
"We've been very pleased with it," Assistant Superintendent Ron Wright said. "We call it 'credit recovery' now. We don't call it 'summer school' anymore."
York schools don't offer summer makeup courses.
Rock Hill's plan for this summer is to hold classes from 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., four days a week between June 15 and July 2.
School buses will take students to and from school.