JAMES CAREER CENTER Board to revisit open-enrollment proposal

Some members said they want more information on this type of policy .
LORDSTOWN -- The board of education again will consider Superintendent Ray Getz's proposal for open enrollment at the Gordon D. James Career Center.
The board has set 7 p.m. Tuesday as a special meeting to discuss open enrollment and filling a board vacancy left by last week's resignation of J.C. Gibson. It also will conduct an executive session to discuss personnel moves.
Board members last week rejected a resolution that would have rescinded the district's policy against open enrollment.
A resolution to allow open enrollment at the career center was on the agenda at the same meeting, but the board removed it after the first vote.
Some board members said they want more information and assurance that open enrollment won't extend to the high school and elementary school.
The proposal says, "For 2001--2002 and until further express board approval is granted, interdistrict transfers will be limited to programs at the Gordon D. James Career Center."
Even if the board rejects career center open enrollment, the plan could still be implemented if the commission appointed to oversee district finances gives it a nod.
Fiscal emergency: The panel was appointed earlier this year after Ohio Auditor Jim Petro's office declared the district in fiscal emergency, citing a projected $1.35 million deficit by the end of the fiscal year.
"The commission could technically act to do it, but I would prefer that the board act to take care of it," said William Wenger, commission chairman.
Because the proposal is a cost issue, it falls under commission jurisdiction.
"It affects the amount of money Lordstown and all of the other school districts spend on the center as well as offering a lot of good programs that students can benefit from," Wenger said. "The commission's interest in it, though, is the reduction in per pupil cost."
Getz pitched the open-enrollment plan to the commission earlier this week and members are expected to vote on the issue Wednesday.
Lordstown is the fiscal agent for the career center compact, which includes Niles, Howland, McDonald and Weathersfield school districts.
Superintendents for all have indicated they support the open-enrollment plan, saying it would reduce their costs. The member districts pay tuition fees for students to attend.
Getz has said open enrollment would increase revenue for Lordstown. Twenty-five additional students would generate $115,750; 50 more would bring in $231,490; 75, $347,234; and 100, $462,979.

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