Students at Ririe High School are saving a combined total of approximately $219,000 by earning 672 college credits over the 2020-2021 school year.

Superintendent Jeff Gee announced these findings at the school board meeting March 10. According to Gee, this is the most college credits students have achieved during the time that dual credit courses have been offered at Ririe Sr. High School.

The amount calculated is a “ballpark average” that takes the average cost of a college credit multiplied by the number of credits students have taken over the course of the year, Gee said.

“We’re doing everything we can do to make sure kids have these opportunities,” Gee stated. “Through this program, we can offer classes we might not be usually able to provide.”

Tommie Mangis, College and Career Advisor and Dual Credit Coordinator, has been working on the dual credit options for the last five years at Ririe. According to Mangis, there were only about three or four students utilizing the dual credit options. This year, they had 212.

“This year, I have a student that will graduate with her associates degree before she graduates from high school,” Mangis said. “I also have 13 students on track to graduate with their associates as well by the time they leave Ririe.”

Mangis stated that the dual credit courses have a variety of benefits and that while she doesn’t want to push the kids too hard, sometimes this is their opportunity to get a cheaper college education. Mangis said that she herself grew up in a low income family and that with the state paying for kids to take these classes, it gives other low income students the chance to see that they can be successful in college courses.

“The support system at a high school level is so much different than the support system in college,” Mangis said. “I find so many benefits of this program. I’ll have students come back to me after they’ve graduated and say that they wish they had done more.”

Mangis continued, stating that if students can get some of these hard classes out of the way while they’re at Ririe, then they’ll feel more comfortable in the college setting which can be a more intimidating place to seek out help. Overall, Mangis said she encourages any student or parents interested in learning about the dual credit options to reach out to her, as she wants to assist anyone that wants to pursue the courses.

“I’ve never felt more fulfilled in my whole life,” Mangis said. “These kids give me a reason to get up in the morning.”

In addition to the recognition of the students’ college credit accomplishments from Gee, the board moved to approve updates to the district’s Federal Budget plan.

Business Manager Bronson Funk first brought the changes to the board’s attention at their meeting in Feb., stating that an amendment needed to be made to match the budget to the actual amounts the district would be receiving.

“It came down to them wanting something really specific and me budgeting something different,” Funk said previously in explaining the adjustments to the board. “The biggest thing really is the $18,000 of carryover from last year in Title I.”

The item was not initially approved in Feb. as it was not placed as an action item on the agenda.

Finally, Gee wanted to address how the Advisory Committee was going and said he wanted to brag about the group. The Advisory Committee was formed to give the district a connection with the community where Gee could get questions from them and address any concerns.

“I needed a group in the community that I could get with on monthly basis and it’s also an attempt to be as transparent as possible with everything going on,” Gee said.

Advisory Committee members, according to Gee, would like to hold more informational meetings with parents in regards to Dual Credit classes so parent can better understand the process

The group meets on a monthly basis and in the April meeting, Gee said a School Resource Officer from Bonneville would be coming to discuss concerns in schools such as vaping. Gee said the group is open to anyone that wants to participate, with meeting scheduled for the first Thursday of the month at 9 a.m. Gee can be contacted by those with questions.