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Opinion

Coventry super explains need for voter approval

4/18/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Letter to the Editor

To the editor:

Over the last several weeks a few residents of the Coventry Local School District have written editorials bashing open enrollment, throwing out numbers and claiming open enrollment as the downfall to our school district. Open enrollment in the Coventry Local Schools is not new, nor is it new in our state. According to the Ohio Department of Education (ODE), over 77 percent of the school districts in Ohio participate in the open enrollment program. School districts utilize open enrollment to help subsidize their budget when they can no longer afford to offer programs because state funding is reduced and/or local levies are not supported. With the school funding situation we find ourselves in today, if open enrollment was costing districts money it would be the first thing cut or reduced. There would be no reason to have open enrollment if it did not benefit a district.

The Coventry Local Schools have been in Fiscal Watch since 1997 (longest in the state), which means the ODE monitors our finances on a regular basis and makes suggestions on cost cutting measures. The ODE has never suggested eliminating open enrollment as it provides over $4.5 million to our budget. For every open enrolled student, it reduces the per pupil expense for our residents.

The bond [issue]/[permanent improvement] issue on the May ballot is not about open enrollment. This issue provides an opportunity to reduce expenses for the district through the elimination of duress spending that is currently used to keep our buildings from falling apart and the reduction of debt. Passage of this issue will lead to a positive five-year forecast as well as the creation of a Permanent Improvement Fund that will allow for upkeep and maintenance of our facilities. The proposed new high school would be built to house the same number of students we currently have in our current high school, and the district would go from four buildings to three. Two additional buildings will be renovated, and nowhere in the plan is additional space being provided for an expansion of open enrollment.

I encourage you to vote yes on May 7 in support of the students in the Coventry Local Schools.

Rusty Chaboudy, superintendent, Coventry Local Schools

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