Wednesday, June 07, 2023

School district mulling changes to scholarship criteria

| September 27, 2006 12:00 AM

By GWEN ALBERS Western News Reporter

Montana University System has always set the guidelines for which top Libby High School seniors receive its highly sought after $16,000 scholarships.

Libby school officials this year will be more involved with that decision.

That's why high school principal Rik Rewerts during the Sept. 19 school board meeting asked trustees to get involved.

"I will come with a recommendation," Rewerts told the board. "Either way it will be somewhat controversial."

MUS for years has awarded one scholarship for every 50 Libby High School seniors. Three of the 144 students from the Class of 2007 will receive $4,000 annually for four years as long as they attend a state school. That includes UM-Missoula, UM Western in Dillon, MSU-Bozeman, Montana Tech in Butte, MSU-Billings and MSU-Northern in Havre.

The top seniors heading for MUS have always been chosen based on their grade-point average without honors courses.

Now MUS is giving schools the option of choosing students with the highest grade-point average with or without honors courses.

"It's the school's choice," Rewerts said. "I would like the school board to make a recommendation."

"The administration could make the decision," added Superintendent Kirby Maki. "I think the board needs to give its stamp of approval."

Beginning in ninth grade, students can take honors courses in English, history, principles of democracy, pre-calculus and physics. Each course can boost the grade-point average above the traditional 4.0.

Whether school officials go with the GPA that includes honors courses or doesn't will effect potential scholarship recipients, Rewerts said.

"This year it only involves a couple of students," he said. "Next year it will involve as many as 11 students. So the bottom line is if we choose to change it in mid-stream, we will effect kids."

"If we don't change it, it won't hurt kids who were in line (for the scholarships)," Rewerts continued. "I think we're going to try to make a decision that will have the least impact."

Options he plans to present to the board during its 4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 10, meeting will include making no changes, change it for this year or change it in two years.

Rewerts would like the board to make the decision during that meeting so he can meet an extended deadline.

"The bottom line is I want to be as fair as possible and I do not want to put kids in a position where they will get hurt," he said.