As Reynoldsburg schools officials explore the idea of opening the doors to students outside district limits, parents got their first chance to ask questions and offer suggestions on a proposal that officials say would increase revenue.

As Reynoldsburg schools officials explore the idea of opening the doors to students outside district limits, parents got their first chance to ask questions and offer suggestions on a proposal that officials say would increase revenue.

Two superintendents from suburban districts in Ohio shared their stories about open enrollment and helped field questions from more than 60 parents who attended an April 11 forum.

Both Scott Inskeep of Reading schools near Cincinnati and Rusty Chaboudy of Coventry schools near Akron said their districts have been able to maintain standards and manageable class sizes while generating a consistent revenue stream.

Both said test scores increased because the students who came to the district were supported by strong parental support. They also said disciplinary problems have been few in number.

"We had people saying, 'You're going to get those kinds of kids,'" Inskeep said. "But I didn't really know what that meant. We haven't had a lot of problems and we had 250 on a waiting list last year."

The 1,600-student district received $1.2 million this year after more than 230 students enrolled from other districts.

Reynoldsburg officials have projected that an open-enrollment policy would bring in money that could help offset losses from state and local funding and possibly delay the need for a levy.

Voters approved a 9.9-mill levy in 2010, but the district has seen a drop in property tax dollars and $3.6 million in lost state dollars.

"I think everybody's facing a new normal and I think the first indication of that was when the state budget was created for schools in this last biennium budget," Reynoldsburg Superintendent Steve Dackin said. "Locally, there's the revaluation of real estate in Franklin County - and Reynoldsburg, specifically, was devalued about 13 percent. So we realize an immediate loss of $1 million in local taxes."

The district plans to save $1.3 million next year through attrition, and slash another $1 million from the budget in 2013-2014.

The arrival of 200 new students through open enrollment, however, could spare the need for another levy until 2017.

Reynoldsburg would receive about $5,700 in state aid for each student who enrolls in the district. Currently, the district spends about $9,300 per student.

Chaboudy said his district of 2,400 students received about $4.2 million in state dollars this year for about 900 students who came from neighboring districts. Coventry enacted its open-enrollment policies in 1994.

"We've been able to add AP courses at the middle school and other programs throughout the district, so it's been beneficial," he said. "Our teachers are the biggest supporters of it and they meet with students and parents during open houses to talk about it."

Following the forum, parents were asked to fill out a survey that asked how students should be prioritized for admittance. State law requires students who are previously open-enrolled to be considered first. Contracts also give priority to children of district employees

The survey included options for students living with a grandparent in the district and children of alumni.

Currently, about 40 students who live in Reynoldsburg attend school in other districts through open enrollment, according to district information.