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Published: Wednesday, 3/30/2005

Archbold puts off vote to offer open enrollment

ARCHBOLD, Ohio - After several months of discussion and consideration, the Archbold Area Board of Education has tabled action on a policy change for open enrollment.

An informal questionnaire reviewed by the board showed the community was divided equally on the issue. Of the 175 residents responding, 88 wanted the district to offer open enrollment and 87 wanted the district to maintain its closed-door policy.

Board members during their meeting this week indicated a preference to keep the district closed to open enrollment students until a newly formed community collaborative effort has had a chance to do its work.

The community collaborative process is expected to help the board find out what the community wants the school district to look like and what type of program it would be willing to support.

The district, which is experiencing a financial drain, is facing the prospect of asking voters for more funding. In anticipation of the funding request, school leaders wanted to find out residents' views on open enrollment.

District officials asked residents to let them know whether the benefits of keeping the schools closed offset the loss in funding or the potential increase in taxes.

To offset the amount it loses from other districts' open enrollment policies, the district would need about 1.64 mills, or $53 a year on a $100,000 house.

Archbold Superintendent Ken Cline has described open enrollment as an economic issue, considering the amount of revenue that leaves the district because of open enrollment. This year the district will lose $398,000 in state funding as a result of about 70 students leaving the district to attend classes elsewhere.

When open enrollment was first allowed, Archbold lacked space for out-of-district students. Since then, the district has completed building additions and renovations but the board chose to stay closed based on statements made during bond issue campaigns.

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