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City to change tuition benefits for employees

June 09, 1999|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

Changes to the City of Hagerstown's educational assistance program are expected to save $7,500 next year.

The details of the new policy for the program, which pays for classes taken by city employees, have yet to be worked out.

The budget for the program was cut from $30,000 this year to $22,500 budgeted for fiscal 2000, which begins July 1.

City Council members reviewed aspects of a revised policy on Tuesday.

Under the revision, the amount the city would pay for a course would be limited to the cost of a course taken at a state university.

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The program would not pay for doctoral-level courses, and part-time employees would not be eligible for the program.

Employees who use the program would have to remain active city employees for two years after taking a class or be required to reimburse the city.

Councilwoman Susan Saum-Wicklein said she was concerned that some legitimate courses might be available only at private universities and not at a state school.

She also said the council should consider limiting the number of courses an employee can take each semester.

Councilman William M. Breichner suggested the amount the city will spend on a course be capped, and Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said the policy should make it clear that city officials have the final say on what classes the city will pay for.

In general, the classes for which the city will pay must be directly related to an employee's job or required for an academic program that is job-related.

Council members agreed to discuss the issue again at a future work session.

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