OPEN ENROLLMENT OPTIONS
By Suzanne M. Wilson, Treasurer
In Ohio students are required to attend the school district in which their primary parent or guardian resides. However, local boards of education can choose to enroll students who live outside the district through open enrollment. This option authorizes students to attend school tuition-free in a district other than the district where their parents reside. I thought readers would be interested in learning more about the facts surround this unique enrollment option.
School boards can choose one of two open enrollment plans. One is to offer enrollment for students living only in districts with boundaries bordering the district of residence. The second option is to offer enrollment to students state-wide. Districts may not discriminate in any way when accepting students via open-enrollment, but can set a limit on the number of students to be accepted in each school year.
In 2014 the Vermilion Board of Education voted to opt for state-wide open enrollment with the idea of bringing additional revenue into the district. Vermilion is one of 449 of the 615 of Ohio districts (73%) offering open enrollment to any district in the state. There are 50 districts that offer open enrollment only to adjacent districts, and 116 districts that have chosen not to offer open enrollment to any students outside their own district.
During the 2015-16 school year Vermilion enrolled 135 students via this program. About 100 students opted to leave Vermilion to open enroll in other districts. The reasons parents choose open enrollment are varied, but we find that many parents who enroll their children outside Vermilion do so for work, day care or after-school care. Many of our students who are open enrolled outside Vermilion for Kindergarten or first grade choose to come back to their home school as they get older.
For revenue purposes, the State of Ohio treats open-enrolled students the same as resident students. Districts report a total number of students attending, and are provided with per-pupil revenue for each student. In this way dollars are generated for each student enrolled. However, the district must carefully decide how many new students it can educate without significantly increasing expenditures. In 2015-2016 fiscal year the net income to the District from our open enrollment program is approximately $235,350. We have been able to increase our numbers without adding to our staffing or program costs.
The Vermilion Local School District offers a one to one laptop initiative for grades 6 through 12, and iPods plus laptop access in classrooms for grades K to 5. The focus of instruction in our schools is blended-learning, co-teaching and individualized instruction. We closely follow our values of personalization, high expectation, innovation, communication and building relationships. Vermilion High School offers alternative learning programs for students who qualify, online courses and College Credit Plus. Our district boasts a newly renovated High School and Middle School, as well as a brand new Elementary School all located on one campus, surrounding our athletic complex and field house.
Parents of students who live outside of Vermilion Schools but are interested in learning more should contact the Principal at the school your child would like to attend. If you decide this option is right for your child, enrollment can be completed online at http://www.vermilionschools.org/Parents.aspx