ADAMS TOWNSHIP — Clinton-Massie is not accepting new open-enrollment students for the 2022-23 academic year because under Ohio’s new school funding formula the district would not get reimbursed as it has previously.
As a result, 57 students whose families applied for open enrollment this spring will not be admitted to Clinton-Massie, at least not in the school year coming up.
The 242 students who already were part of the open-enrollment system at Clinton-Massie in 2021-22 are invited back for the upcoming school year, but the Board of Education will continue to look at whether open enrollment can still be viable there moving forward.
Not all school districts that offer open enrollment are in the same boat as CM, said Clinton-Massie Board of Education President Jeremy Lamb. That’s because Clinton-Massie is one of 40 districts in the state that’s on a guarantee, so it gets a set amount of money, he explained.
Pausing new applications for open enrollment on May 26 had been “a tough decision all the way around,” Lamb said at this week’s board meeting, but board members had to try to do what is right for the district, he added.
The board’s vote had been a unanimous 5-0 in favor of a moratorium on new open-enrollment applications for the 2022-23 year.
A new state biennial budget will be drawn up the first half of next year, so there might be a change that affects the open-enrollment financial picture for schools like Massie.
But if there is no change that makes an impact, said Lamb, then Clinton-Massie leaders will “have to take a hard look” at what to do regarding open enrollment for the 2023-24 year.
“There’s a part of me that has an issue with having our taxpayers educate kids [from] outside the district, right?” he said. That situation, he said, could be used as an argument by district taxpayers the next time a school levy is on their ballot.
Looking ahead and wanting to provide families of CM open-enrollment students time to make alternative plans if necessary, Lamb said the board and administration will do their due diligence, look at the options and discuss things, and then get back with parents as early as possible with a scenario for what open-enrollment going forward is “going to look like” in the event state funding does not change.
The scenario itself may get sketched out this fall, the board president said. Then, once it becomes clear next year what will take place in the next state budget regarding school funding, the school district can let families “know as soon as we know” about the future of open enrollment at Massie, said Lamb.
“We’re trying to do the best thing for the district in the long-term,” Lamb concluded.
School safety conversations
Clinton-Massie currently has one School Resource Officer (SRO) at its one district-wide campus on Lebanon Road. An SRO is a police officer who is assigned to K-12 school buildings.
In the wake of the recent mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, there have been conversations at Clinton-Massie about school safety, according to Lamb.
“I will be frank with you. I did talk with Matt [CM Supt. Matt Baker] about the possibility of having more resource officers on staff. We are a spread-out campus; it would be good to have maybe one [SRO] per building. There are some challenges to that because apparently the sheriff offices are finding it hard to hire deputies,” stated Lamb.
A lot of the district’s safety plans, of course, are kept confidential. But the board president wants residents to know the school district is looking out for the safety of its students.
“We will be looking at Best Practices, as well as what works best for the local district,” said Lamb.
A bill recently signed into law in Ohio enables local boards of education to allow school workers after some training to carry a gun, he noted.
“It’s probably a step in the right direction but again I don’t know exactly what we’re going to do and I don’t know that we’re going to be able to share most of it in public session,” Lamb said.
According to the online Ohio Capital Journal, if a local school board opts in on arming teachers, it would need to disclose to parents that one or more school workers are armed.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.