Open enrollment management

State auditor’s team releases performance audits on Austintown and Hubbard schools

Staff report

A report issued by state Auditor Dave Yost’s Ohio Performance Team revealed open-enrollment success is based on proper management.

Yost’s team released performance audits on two local school districts that offer open enrollment: Austintown Local School District and Hubbard Exempted Village School District.

The Austintown district could save more than $766,000 by reducing open-enrollment admission to 125 students and “realigning staffing to accommodate fewer students,” according to the audit.

However, the Hubbard district’s “careful management of its open-enrollment program helped it realize a net gain of more than $1 million in fiscal year 2015.”

“During [2015], the district’s 219 open-enrollment students – 11.2 percent of student population – generated $1.2 million in revenue, outpacing $238,000 in costs to teach them by $1 million,” the audit said.

The difference between the two districts is Hubbard has established capacity limits, as recommended in Austintown’s audit, in its district policy. Austintown has not.

Open enrollment can boost a school district’s revenue if managed carefully but may result in a financial loss if associated costs and policy decisions are overlooked, said Yost said in a news release.

“Open enrollment is a complex equation with no single solution,” Yost said. “School districts considering this educational option should tailor policies to their priorities, constantly monitor their outcomes and adjust accordingly.”

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