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JAMES CAREER CENTER School official asks panel to OK open enrollment

Published: Tue, July 3, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.

A Lordstown school board member resigned two days after leaving a meeting.



LORDSTOWN -- Superintendent Ray Getz has asked the school district's fiscal oversight commission to approve open enrollment at the Gordon D. James Career Center.

William E. Wenger, commission chairman, said the panel will take up the issue at its July 11 meeting.

Students from Lordstown, Niles, McDonald, Howland and Weathersfield attend classes at the center, for which Lordstown is fiscal agent.

At last Wednesday's school board meeting, members voted against a resolution changing the district policy that prohibits open enrollment.

Wenger said the commission, which oversees the district's finances because it is under fiscal emergency, has the authority to act on open enrollment because it's a financial matter. By opening the center to other school districts in the fall, it may decrease the cost to Lordstown.

Member resigns: School board member J.C. Gibson did not vote on rescinding the board policy against opening enrollment because he had left the meeting. He has since resigned without giving a reason for his action.

Getz explained that Gibson attended the board meeting, went into executive session with other board members and participated in the discussion. After the executive session, Getz said, Gibson spoke to board president Becky Albrecht and then left the building.

Getz distributed a Friday e-mail from Gibson to Albrecht, in which he resigned effective two days earlier.

Gibson could not be reached for comment.

Remaining board members will select Gibson's replacement.

Ambushed: Getz said he was the victim's of a "public ambush" at the board meeting when the policy change failed by a 3-1 vote. Getz said Albrecht was "irresponsible" to say more time and information about open enrollment is needed.

After the Wednesday meeting, he said that Albrecht helped him prepare the open-enrollment proposal presented to the board.

"It allows for tremendous potential for financial revenue. We can't continue to chase our tails on this," Getz asserted.

More revenue: He pointed out that 25 additional students at the center would generate $115,750 in revenue; 50, $231,490; 75, $347,234; and 100, $462,979.

Getz said issues regarding district finances are getting "personal," noting he was hired to get the district out of a financial mess.

The superintendent said he "will remain standing after all is said and done. These people aren't going to run me out of here."

In another matter, the commission rescinded a previous action by the board and commission that eliminated the position of school nurse as a cost-savings measure.

"It's a health and safety issue," Wenger said, noting rehiring Cora Rieke was not a political decision.

The commission also recalled Paula Basco as an English teacher. She will fill a vacancy at the career center caused by another teacher becoming disabled.


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