COVENTRY TWP. Open enrollment continues to be a hot topic in Coventry Local Schools following a report last week revealed the district is gaining money from its policy of opening its school doors to students who live outside its borders.
The report contradicts a July report from the state Auditor's Office which claimed the district's open enrollment policy was costing more than $1 million per year.
During the Feb. 16 Planning and Supervision Commission meeting, the commission had the opportunity to review the 100-plus page report the district's 12-member Open Enrollment Committee had spent months compiling. The commission did not issue any comment on the report, but plans to so during the next meeting.
The report is raising continued concerns from the Coventry Schools Taxpayers Accountability Coalition (CSTAC), which isn’t sold on the numbers released in the report. The group gave commission members a report stating its concerns and hidden figures that it found in the Open Enrollment Committee's report.
Coventry resident Kathy Finefrock, who has spoke out at several meetings with concerns about open enrollment, shared comments on the upcoming 9.91-mill renewal levy that will appear on the May 2 ballot.
Finefrock questioned the need for the levy by saying "it is great" the district has figured out that it makes $3 million per-year on open enrollment, adding that if you take that number and multiple it by five years, it adds to $15 million in revenue. She said the other route the district could go is to listen to the state auditor, who said the district would save $1.1 million if open enrollment were reduced. She said in five years the district would have $5 million and only need a 4-mill levy.
"Either way you have made it very easy for the citizens of Coventry to vote no on the upcoming levy because we don’t need the money," Finefrock said.
Commission Chairperson Kim Richard said the district’s five-year forecast shows, based on expenditures with the current level of open enrollment, that if the levy doesn't pass there would be substantial cuts.
In other business Feb. 16, the Commission:
- Approved purchase orders over $5,000, contracts and personnel.
- Heard a presentation from the state Auditor’s Office in regards to the five-year forecast.
- Heard from Superintendent Russell Chaboudy who thanked everyone who attended the community meeting regarding open enrollment. He said in his 38 years in education he has never seen a meeting like that.
- Heard the secretary/monitory report for the month of January from Bob Foss.
The next Financial Planning and Supervision Commission meeting is set for 4 p.m. March 28 at the Lakeview Administrative Building.