AUSTINTOWN - Open enrollment will continue in Austintown schools, but with some limitations.
Although any student currently enrolled can continue his or her education at the district through graduation, the high school will be closed to new non-resident students, Superintendent Vince Colaluca said.
"We aren't looking to expand open enrollment, but we are not going to decrease it. It has been a revenue gain that helps fund our programming that is not state-mandated, but very popular among our students and parents," Colaluca said.
Each March the district will evaluate the numbers, looking to keep a ratio of one teacher per 23 students, without adding new teachers, Colaluca said.
The district is trying to maintain around the same number of open enrollment students, more than 700, which is about 13 percent, Colaluca said.
"We are fiscally sound right now and if we want to continue College Credit Plus, STEM and computer classes at the elementary school, we need dollars to do that," Colaluca said.
Colaluca said the schools are operating on levy dollars set in 1996 and suffering population decline.
A meeting was held Jan. 25 about open enrollment. Colaluca said the administration is sharing detailed information about the district's finances, test scores and discipline to help the community understand why the decision is fiscally sound.
A state audit released last year stated the district could save money by eliminating about 550 non-resident students, cutting staff and closing buildings. The move would recoup about $25,000 a year the auditors suggested the school is losing because those students are only receiving per pupil cash from the state and not any from local levies. Closing buildings and cutting staff could lead to more than $700,000 in savings, the audit states.