Open enrollment has its advantages when used efficiently. Consolidation is possible in our K-5 buildings. Below is a video I made a little over 8 years ago. Obviously the “people” and numbers have changed but the song remains the same. Whether it’s through a rebuild project or a district renovation, a scenario encompassing resident Cuyahoga Falls children needs to be considered.
I do understand some of the advantages to allowing open enrollment. It can give the district the ability to offer a broader range of course study to our students. A definite plus with the district’s academy structure. Open enrollment can also fill voids in classrooms. For example if you have 4 geometry classes with 25 students each in 3 and 20 students in the fourth, the district can fill the 4th classroom with 5 open enrolled students. In that case it is no cost to our district and adds revenue to the coffers. However when it’s used to fill large voids in buildings with low enrollment, Cuyahoga Falls taxpayers foot a portion of the per pupil expenditures on non-resident children. It becomes particularly egregious when special needs children are thrown in the mix. Because we can never provide for the needs of this population at the dollar amount the state and federal funding provide. The difference comes from our local tax dollars.
I do see room for compromise. I think a consolidation of grades K-5 would cause significant savings across the district. Extending the boundaries of neighborhood schools would create a domino effect. The district could repurpose several buildings and create new revenues that aren’t dependant on property taxes. It would limit open enrollment in primary buildings to filling the few extra spots in each building. Which in that case is also “free revenue” for the district. And lastly it would leave our middle schools and high school at their current status with the flexibility to fill low enrollment classrooms and the ability to expand and enhance high school programming through marketing our interest based academies.