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Virtual Schools To Help Manage Budget Cuts

According to an article for Florida's WFTV Action 9 news, the state's central region has been suffering from recent budget cuts within the education system that have led to the loss of whole classes and summer school sessions. With these detrimental slashes being made, schools and parents are now looking toward online alternatives to fill in the gaps in their students' educations.

Florida Virtual School has seen a sharp increase in the number of students signing up to take courses online Students take the courses through the Florida Virtual School website and some districts are actually encouraging their students to take classes through the schools because many schools cancelled summer school for 2009.

Presently, there are 85,000 students statewide who have completed or either enrolled in Florida Virtual School in 2009. Orange County has the most students enrolled with more than 4,500.

Enrollment with virtual school courses is growing so exponentially that faculty and resource expansion is now needed to keep up with the numbers.

Recently, the virtual school had to triple the number of employees in its call center because the enrollment has grown 40 percent almost every year since it started in 1996.

"We may have a situation where a physics teacher leaves and we fill that physics class immediately for that school or a certain advance placement class has been cut," said Julie Young, CEO Florida Virtual School.

Florida Virtual School said they already have 15 districts, including some in Central Florida that have asked them to reserve space in their courses.

They anticipate that more than 50,000 students will enroll in their summer start program because so many districts are eliminating courses.

Could more online schools be on the horizon, answering the call of schools burdened by budget cuts? Or could these fixes ultimately have detrimental effects on community and local school districts in the long run? As the article raises questions, only time will tell, but online schools certainly have a growing place in education's future.

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