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Opinion

Resident questions Coventry open enrollment policy

4/4/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Letter to the Editor

To the editor:

On May 7, residents of the Coventry Local School District are being asked for the third time to pass a 34-year bond issue and a lifetime permanent improvement levy. Let me make it very clear why a NO vote is absolutely necessary. This is not an affront on “our” children attending the schools, but the result of our school officials trying to sell a very bad deal to our residents. They have not done their jobs!

Did you know that open enrollment has now reached 813 students? Their defense is that open enrollment is a good deal for Coventry. If they were only filling empty seats this would make some sense, but they have greatly exceeded filling empty seats. We are not talking 100 or 200 more students, but 813 students! This requires at a minimum at least an additional building and all of the accompanying expenses. Coventry’s cost to educate each student is $8,836, yet open enrollment only provides funding of $5,732 per student. We, district residents, are paying the additional $3,104 to educate open enrollment children who do not live here. This totals $2,523,552 more annually or $12,617,760 over five years. (Reference: www.coventryschools.org.)

Our school officials need to seriously re-evaluate what they are doing by making these unreasonable demands. You cannot tell me that 813 students equates to filling empty classroom seats, but rather, this equates to an additional building and/or expanded buildings for all these additional kids. How can anyone defend this type of overspending? Why are proponents so eager to blindly pass a levy that is well beyond providing for our students?

We are now being threatened that this issue must pass. Have the open enrollment parents offered to pay part of this bill while their kids are in our schools? Residents and business owners are being bullied if they even question this levy. People who have spoken out against this levy have been bad-mouthed, told to move and boycotted if you are a business. The negative attitude of these proponents, which has also been led by our school officials, is outrageous.

Our school officials have seriously failed this district and our kids! It is not the residents who voted no by making an informed decision. Had school officials carefully evaluated the whole scenario affecting our school system and done their jobs, like businesses have to do every day, we wouldn’t be in this situation. Businesses have to make tough decisions every day whether they like it or not. Who is going to be there to help our seniors when they can’t buy a prescription or have to give up their home because they can no longer afford their taxes? I know it won’t be the levy proponents leading this crusade.

Why can Manchester Local Schools offer all school programs with only 1,500 students? It’s because their leaders know how to manage a school district and they respect their families.

Anthony Kinsinger, Coventry

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