Enrollment On the Rise at Technical High Schools 

Earlier this month, we told you about piece of legislation that the Governor and his top education official believe to be the future of education in Maine.It includes, among other things, a greater focus on career and technical education in the state.TV5 met with staff and students from the United Technologies Center in Bangor, where the student body always seems to be increasing, in part due to the hands on learning approach technical high schools take.For example, inside the center’s classrooms you won’t find chalkboards and stacks of worksheets, rather a course load taught by an entirely different measure.”Just today I was learning to convert a recipe from 12 portions to 60 portions. I mean, regular math I’m doing at school wouldn’t be anything like that,” said student, Henna Johnson. Johnson is a senior at Old Town High School, and splits her days between there and UTC.”I go to school in the morning and I sit down for 2 ½ hours and then I come here and I’m up on my feet.”She’s studying culinary arts at the center, one of more than a dozen programs offered. The school’s director, Frederick Woodman, said there are nearly 500 students enrolled in the courses, and the number is on the rise. “I believe that some day, in the very near future, this school will operate year round,” said Woodman.But in the last few years, as the student demand has increased, their budget has done just the opposite.”Funding has definitely dropped back and as it drops back it hurts all the students, all the schools, all the areas.”The center’s bills are paid in part by the communities whose students it serves, as well as by a federal fund, called the Perkins Grant, which seems to get smaller and smaller every year.During a recent tour of the center, Governor LePage stressed the importance of properly financing all of the state’s technical high schools.”Right now, we have some openings here that have gone unfilled because of funding. We have some schools that have waiting lists and we just need to eliminate all that and make sure that every student that wants to be here can be,” said the Governor.Woodman hopes with increased support outside of the school, they’ll be able to continue to grow inside the classroom.