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Resident suggests open enrollment not paying for itself

3/21/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Letter to the Editor

To the editor:

The Coventry [Local School District] (CLSD) has repeatedly attempted (most recently at the March 4 board meeting) to persuade the CLSD property owners that the argument against open enrollment is a myth and that it is actually a windfall for the district. When I do the math, I find that it is not a windfall but an enormous burden on the taxpayers.

The Ohio Department of Education’s (ODE) Bridge Worksheet Report for “FY 2013 December No. 2 payment, (FY 2012)” for CLSD shows state funding of $4,134,536.39 for 882.73 open enrollment (OE) students.

However, the [ODE] Profile Report for CLSD (FY 2012) reveals expenditures of $8,835.61 for each of its students. That’s $7,799,458.02 per year just for these 882.73 OE students. That’s a deficit of $3,664,921.63 per year that the property owners in the CLSD must cough up!

Our CLSD board has indicated that our schools are in terrible shape and that “our facilities literally are crumbling around the students” with no money for repairs. Well, our schools did not get this way overnight! The leaky roofs and boiler problems, etc. are the result of age and lack of oversight.

The problem is that the additional $3,664,921.63 spent every year on OE students to finance the difference between what the state pays for OE ($4,134,536.39) and what it actually costs the CLSD ($7,799,458.02) could have been used to repair the buildings if CLSD did not participate in the OE program. Yes, you would lose the $4.1-plus million, but you wouldn’t have to spend the additional $3.6-plus million. Then, use the $3.6-plus million to fix the schools. Lets stop the insanity! Let’s put Coventry kids first instead of last!

After the buildings are repaired, you could either set aside the $3.6-plus million in a special building fund. A 10-year plan would yield $36,649,216.3 plus interest, or return it to the taxpayers.

Windfall? You decide when you vote on May 7. Personally, I will vote no! My property taxes are already too high and I am tired of paying for OE students all these years! If the parents of these OE students don’t like the schools in their district, don’t send them to Coventry! Instead, move to Coventry and take the burden off our backs! Pay for your own kids!

Now, tell me I don’t care! Tell me I don’t think [they’re] worth it! Tell me it’s none of my business! Vote no! Vote no! Vote No! Vote no [on the] Coventry LSD bond and levy issue [in the] May 7 Primary Election.

James Howe, New Franklin

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