The mission of the Mason County Child Welfare Board is to “provide services and engage in activities that will benefit dependent, neglected or abused children in need of protection and care in Mason County.” The purpose statement of the organization goes on to say, “The board strives to help families in need before abuse and neglect occurs.” To that end, the board meets monthly with at least one member of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services who provides updates on cases of abuse and neglect occurring in Mason County. The board provides financial support for children in the care of DFPS. In the past, the board has paid for class rings, summer camp tuition, Christmas and birthday gifts. Recently, we have expanded the type of assistance we offer. Education is widely believed to help prevent the cycle of poverty, neglect and abuse. Dual credit courses are an integral part of the curriculum at Mason High School and have been since the 2000-2001 school year. These courses satisfy both high school curriculum requirements and college core curriculum requirements. Students are able to transfer those credits to any college or university in the state of Texas as well as many out of state schools. Mason High School’s program began with an offering of six hours of dual credit history courses for a very small fee. This year they offer an all time high 53 dual credit hours in English, Spanish, History, Government, Art, Algebra, Anatomy & Physiology and Biology with most of the instruction delivered on the MHS campus by in-house faculty members. MHS students and families paid more than $67,000 in tuition for a total of 956 hours during the 2010-2011 school year. Some students will take as many as 22 hours this year at a total cost of more than $1600. Unfortunately, dual credit students do not qualify for federal financial aid or student loans. More than 54% of MHS students qualify for free or reduced lunch, and this is too big a financial burden for many families. As MHS began to offer more courses and encourage more students to take advantage of those courses, they realized more students were encountering financial problems. Add to that the additional pressure created by Central Texas College, our dual credit course provider, which continues to raise tuition rates annually. At first, these problems were taken care of by a generous administration and faculty. However, two years ago, it became apparent that they were not equipped to handle the need. The MCCWB stepped in to help relieve some of the burden when we instituted our tuition reimbursement program in which the MCCWB pays the full amount of a student’s tuition up front, and the student reimburses MCCWB by the end of the semester. The students still had a responsibility and a stake in the process since the scholarship program only covered half the cost. The first year, the MCCWB paid around $2,000 in tuition per semester. Last fall, the board paid a little over $7,000. Unfortunately, because of a lack of funds, the MCCWB was not able to provide tuition assistance this year. Our annual hamburger fundraiser will again take place on the west side of the square on Palm Sunday; however, the need is greater than ever before. The Mason County Child Welfare Board is committed to continuing to offer the dual credit tuition assistance program, and we need your help. Your tax deductible donation can ensure that Mason County high school students are able to take advantage of the dual credit courses taught by Mason High School teachers. If you would like to help, you can mail a check to Mason County Child Welfare Board PO Box 475 Mason, Texas 76856. If you have any questions about the Mason County Child Welfare Board or the dual credit tuition program, please contact any of the Members of the Scholarship Sub-committee at the contact information below.
Shannon Hofmann 325-347-1122 ext 237 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Melany Canfield 325-347-1122 ext 224 or Melany.email@example.com
Amanda McMillan 325-347-5916 or firstname.lastname@example.org