The Canal Winchester Times

Open enrollment could bring in extra income


Canal Winchester Board of Education members got their first look March 18 at an open enrollment policy that would allow students from other districts to attend Canal Winchester schools, if space is available.

The proposal is still being reviewed by the district's attorneys and the Canal Winchester Education Association, but Superintendent Jim Sotlar said if it is eventually approved, it could bring in additional funds.

"We do receive funding at the state aid amount allocated to Canal Winchester, approximately $3,450 (per pupil). If we go to an open enrollment policy, we would receive the full state aid amount of about $5,700," Sotlar said.

"This amount could change based on changes in the new state funding program," he added.

Reynoldsburg City Schools implemented an open enrollment policy in 2012 that generated almost $1 million for the district in its first year. The school board voted in January to extend the program for another year.

All open-enrollment applicants in Reynoldsburg will be notified by mid-July if they have been accepted. All approved transfers are for one year only; the school board reserves the right to deny any applicants and cancel the open enrollment program at any time for any school year.

In addition, the Reynoldsburg policy says no open enrollment student can join a class if doing so would exceed district capacity limits for the grade level, school, program or class.

The open enrollment proposal for Canal Winchester would give priority to children of staff members. According to district officials, 52 children of staff members attend Canal Winchester schools now.

In other business March 18, the board approved hiring Tracie Lees to be principal at Canal Winchester Middle School, effective Aug. 1. She will succeed Cassandra Miller, who will retire at the end of the school year.

Lees, who has 18 years of education experience, is currently an assistant principal at Canal Winchester High School.

In her new job, Lees will be paid a base salary of $90,482 per year, about $4,000 more than she currently earns.

"Tracie is a dynamic leader with the ability to lead change and to work with staff to take them to the next step of excellence," Sotlar said. "Tracie has a strong skill set in areas of discipline and instruction and has a strong understanding of middle school years and what students need to be successful."

He indicated the district will begin looking for Lees' replacement at the high school immediately and hopes to have a candidate for the board's consideration in May.

The board also agreed to pay Farnham Equipment Co. of Columbus $133,000 to replace the 35-year-old bleachers in the high school auditorium. Work is scheduled to start in June and be completed by July.

"There are no aisle ways or safety rails, which are a safety concern for the district, and they are not handicap-accessible," Sotlar said. "The district believes it is best to replace them and get them up to code than to keep repairing them."