The parents of Columbia County 10th-graders might want to set aside a little extra back-to-school cash.
School board members unanimously decided Tuesday that they won't pick up the tab for sophomores to take the PSAT.
The state Board of Education eliminated funding to purchase the exams this year because of tax shortfalls. That left local boards with the option of buying the tests themselves or passing the costs along to parents.
At $13 a test and potentially more than 1,700 10th-graders taking it, the PSAT might have cost the school system as much as $22,500.
Though the test typically is offered to sophomores, freshmen and juniors sometimes take it too. However, they have had to pay for the exam, Assistant Superintendent Jeff Carney said after the meeting.
Even high school principals believe parents should pay for the exam, according to an informal poll taken by Superintendent Charles Nagle.
School officials have said that though there is value in offering the PSAT -- gauging a student's readiness to take the SAT, predicting student success in AP classes, qualifying students for National Merit Scholarships and helping educators compare area academic performance with that of students in other states -- it is not mandatory and should not be offered at the expense of all taxpayers.
"A lot of students doing well in school, they're going to take this test," Nagle said.
The exams typically are ordered in September for administration in October.
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