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Published: Thursday, 8/9/2001

Radio ads pay dividends to Perrysburg High School

BY JANET ROMAKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Some out-of-towners will be attending Perrysburg's new high school when it opens in September.

So far, 37 students from other districts, including Swanton and Bowling Green, have signed up to attend classes since the district adopted its new open-enrollment policy. Perrysburg has room this year for 100 out-of-district students.

In May, board of education members approved a resolution to allow open enrollment of students from other districts beginning this fall for grades 7 through 12.

This summer, a radio campaign was launched to let area residents know about the opportunity, school officials said.

Space available in the classes varies. The limits are 20 open-enrollment students in each of the 7th and 8th grade levels; 10 each at the 9th and 10th grade levels, and 20 each at the 11th and 12th grade levels.

The 10 slots in the freshman class already have been filled, former Superintendent Sharon Zimmers said last week. She began her duties Fridayas superintendent of public schools in the Columbus suburb of Dublin.

A few open-enrollment students are former students of private schools in Toledo, Dr. Zimmers said. Some are students who want the chance to attend Penta Career Center, an opportunity not available to them in their home districts.

A few may have switched to Perrysburg to participate in a particular sport. But Dr. Zimmers said that the school district's strong academic achievements and its wide range of courses, such as fifth-year Spanish, likely lured many others.

In May, school officials decided to advertise to get the word out about the district's new open-enrollment policy, she said. Running radio advertisements was the “best bet” for the schools, she said.

“We had two different ads playing on the radio,'' she said.

Board members said they decided to accept open-enrollment students for the 2001-02 school year because the junior high and high school buildings have extra space as a result of the construction of the new high school.

“We built a new school to last several years and there is some extra capacity,” said John Kevern, a school board member. The new high school is nearly finished, and is scheduled to open in early September.

With the new policy in place, Perrysburg can attract additional students to its classes as well as some extra money for the district's coffer, he said.

Dr. Zimmers explained that Perrysburg receives $1,500 per student in the district, but will get $5,500 for each open-enrollment student.

Although the district will receive the additional dollars, school officials are trying to make sure that the additional students do not generate additional expenses.

The key, Dr. Zimmers said, is to avoid overcrowding classrooms and creating the need to hire more staff.

School officials will evaluate the policy on a year-to-year basis, she said.

The school district is not responsible for transportation of the open-enrollment students.



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