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School board moves closer to open enrollment increase

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At its March 13 meeting the school board moved one step closer to increasing open enrollment in local schools when it gave the go ahead to Superintendent Norm Glismann to begin advertising for two new full-time elementary school teachers for grades one and two, and a half-time kindergarten, teacher.

At the board’s Oct. 25, 2007, meeting, Glismann had presented the board with three years worth of open enrollment figures, including those for the current school year, which indicated that out of 683 students attending Yellow Springs schools grades K–12, 122 are open enrollment students, making up 18 percent of the total enrollment. Board policy allows open enrollment of up to 33 percent of total enrollment.

Currently, kindergarten and grades one, two, three, five and nine are closed to open enrollment, with a waiting list of 13 students for kindergarten, two for first grade, eight for third grade and three for fifth grade. Additionally, if MLS does not add a teacher next year, he said, seven current open enrollment first graders will be told they cannot return.

According to Glismann, Mills Lawn Principal Christine Hatton recently called the parents of the 13 kindergarteners who had been denied open enrollment and learned that 11 of them were still interested in enrolling their children in first grade at MLS next year. Those 11 kindergarteners and seven first-graders would bring in almost enough money from state contributions to pay the salaries of the two full-time teachers, he said.

At the March 13 meeting, Glismann provided the board with revenue projections that indicate that by adding 20 open enrollment kindergarten students per year at a payment from the state of approximately $2,750 and 20 older students at $5,500, by year five revenue would exceed expenses by $437,594.

According to Glismann, the schools receive $1,989.98 per student from the state, but they receive about $5,343.27 from the state for each open enrollment student. Since kindergarteners are only half-time students, the district receives only half of that figure for open enrollment kindergarteners. Currently, revenues from the state account for only about 32 per cent of the school system’s funding, and the rest comes from property tax, income tax, and levies.

By having more teachers, Glismann said, it is his hope that open enrollment will be attractive to even more students. Space at MLS is not an issue, he said.

Interviewed after the meeting, Glismann said that the positions would be posted very soon. As to the benefits of open enrollment beyond bringing in revenue, he referred to his letter-to-the-editor published in the News on Feb. 28, wherein he stated that open enrollment students add to the schools’ diversity and enable the offering of advanced placement courses and extracurricular activities that would not be available in an environment of declining enrollment.

The rest of the school board’s March 13 business will be covered in next week’s News.


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