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Opinion

Former treasurer responds to argument

4/25/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Letter to the Editor

To the editor:

In James Howe’s letter [to the editor] April 12, 2013, [“Writer insists open enrollment costs district”], he states that my response to his letter was criticism. I was explaining that the financial problems of the district are not a result of open enrollment [OE] expenses.

It is important to refute a few of Mr. Howe’s inaccurate statements. First, I actually do live in Coventry, and I vote and pay taxes here. I served the district for 34 years. I had children in the system and currently have grandchildren in school. I care about what happens to the future of this district. It is obvious that Mr. Howe did not do his research regarding this twice-stated irrelevant remark that none of us (Mr. [Russell] Chaboudy, [superintendent]; Mr. [Aaron] Butts, [treasurer]; nor I) even live in the district. That is untrue, and I support the schools as adamantly as Mr. Howe chooses not to support his community or schools.

Yes, Mr. Howe, it is absolutely true that the district spends more per pupil than what the state funds for OE students. It also spends far more for the resident students than what the state funds. That’s why we pay property taxes! Simplistically (using Mr. Howe’s researched figure), we spent $8,836 per pupil in FY2012. We received $5,732 per OE student and $2,238 per resident student (due to the reduction in funding based on property wealth).

This equates to locally funding an additional $6,598 per resident student, but just $3,104 per OE student beyond state funding. The OE funding offsets some of the cost per pupil for resident students. If all of our students were residents, which is impossible since they just don’t exist, we would be in worse shape tax wise. Why would over 77 percent of districts in Ohio have OE policies if it were detrimental to their finances?

Mr. Howe is further incorrect that, should this levy pass and a new building is built, it will not open any “floodgates” of OE students. The enrollment is intended and expected to remain the same as it is now, and the building plans are based on space for current enrollment. If resident students increase, OE students will decrease. Also, another building will be closed and the district will operate with three consolidated buildings instead of four. We are not trying to expand; we are trying to upgrade the facilities we currently need for our students.

Perhaps Mr. Howe should consider attending a community meeting and express his concerns where answers can be provided on the spot. This bond/levy issue has nothing to do with OE, and once again, I suggest that it is time to let it go and research the real issue of our deteriorating facilities.

Rest assured Mr. Howe that I won’t miss voting yes proudly on May 7 for this bond/levy issue!

Lee Ann Weisenmiller, Coventry, retired Coventry Local School District treasurer

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