District’s state aid will be impacted
By Bert Lehman
Student enrollment for the School District of Clintonville has dropped from 1,467 in 2015-16 to 1,384 this year.
Clintonville School District Superintendent Tom O’Toole informed the Clintonville School Board of the decrease at its meeting Monday, Oct. 10. The enrollment is determined by the number of students at school on the third Friday in September. This year’s count was on Sept. 18.
“Anytime you have a decrease in enrollment it’s not a good situation,” O’Toole told the board. “This will affect our revenue limit.”
O’Toole told the board the loss of 83 students doesn’t mean the district is in a position to make cuts.
• He said there were 89 students at Dellwood Early Learning Center last year, and this year’s kindergarten class is 81 students.
• First-grade went up by one compared to last year.
• Second-grade is down 11 students from the number in last year’s first grade class.
• Third-grade is down four students.
• Fourth-grade is down eight students.
• Fifth-grade is down five students.
• Sixth-grade is down three.
• Seventh-grade is up three students.
• Eighth-grade is down three students.
O’Toole said the district gained some students from eighth grade to ninth grade because of the addition of students who attended parochial schools last year who came to Clintonville High School this year.
“But we never know how many of those parochial students we are going to get,” O’Toole said.
O’Toole added, “Overall the numbers are down. It is what it is. We have a little higher open enrollment number.”
Home school report
O’Toole informed the board that there are 50 students who live in the Clintonville School District who are being home schooled.
“It’s very fluid. It goes up and down throughout the school year. It’s really the parent’s wishes,” O’Toole said.
He added, “It’s been in the 40-50 range for a good number of years.”
Board member Jim Schultz asked how many home school students request to enter the school district midyear.
O’Toole said none on the secondary education level enter the district because it is difficult to join the district in the middle of a semester when credits are needed to graduate. He said the district will have some home school students enter the elementary school midyear.
Representatives from the Wolf River Homeschoolers were on hand to discuss the use of the district’s auditorium. The group is centered in the Clintonville area, but includes families from outside the area.
The board was informed that during the last five years Wolf River Homeschoolers has rented the district’s auditorium for its musical each year. This includes practices during the day during the school year, and performances at night when the musical is performed in April or May.
The musical includes students ages 6-18. The number of students involved each year ranges between 45 and 75. This year’s musical is “Fiddler on the Roof.”
Representatives said when they inquired about renting the auditorium this year they found there is a new fee schedule. They said the new fee schedule would triple the amount they paid last year, which was around $1,200.
The representatives asked the board if it would consider reducing the cost.
Board President Jim Dins asked O’Toole if the fee schedule increased.
O’Toole said sometimes fees have been waived. He added that last year the district wasn’t paid because an invoice wasn’t sent to Wolf River Homeschoolers.
Clintonville High School Principal Lance Bagstad said last year the district worked with Wolf River Homeschoolers on a different fee schedule. He added that since the fee schedule is a board policy, he and others in the district felt that changing the fee schedule should be something the board approves, rather than having a building administrator make that decision.
Bagstad added that the fee structure didn’t change, but the policy was readopted by the board, the group was given a quote along with the option of discussing the fee with the board.
“The working relationship between the home school group and the high school has always been very good,” Bagstad said. “… This isn’t about we’re trying to price the home school group out of the auditorium.”
Bagstad said a lot of the fee in the past was to cover the cost of the auditorium director and the off-custodial time.
After some discussion the board and representatives from Wolf River Homeschoolers agreed on a fee of $1,500 to rent the auditorium for this year’s musical, contingent on the group paying last year’s fee. Home school representatives said they would pay last year’s fee.
During the public comments portion of the meeting school board member Ben Huber told the board that he has received a lot of comments regarding the conference realignment discussion that took place at a September meeting. He said the comments came from former teachers, former administrators, former coaches, as well as parents and students.
“I would say most of them that spoke with me were against realignment,” Huber said. “They didn’t think that we should go to a different conference to make it easier.”
He said currently Clintonville is in the middle of its conference in terms of school size. Under the new discussed alignment Clintonville would be the largest school in the conference, almost double the size of most of the schools in the conference.
Dins said he has received around a half dozen calls and every call was against the conference realignment. He added that most had students in soccer and they were worried about the soccer team.
“I told them we weren’t going to leave them out in the cold,” Dins said.
District resident Tracy Sirna addressed the board about the community’s perception of the district as she hears it when she is in the community.
“I think it’s important that you hear what we out there in the business community and parents are hearing,” Sirna said.
She said over the last 5-15 years there have been a lot of changes to education, and at one time teaching trades, such as welding and agriculture, in school was strong.
“What we’re hearing is that out on the street we’ve got kids coming out of high school or kids are coming out of colleges who don’t have employment,” Sirna said. “A lot of them are missing the basic fundamental skills.”
She said she understands education has geared away from trade subjects, but she said “trades haven’t geared away from everybody.”
Bagstad responded by listing all of the courses the district offers that deals with trade skills.
He also added that the district sent letters to the largest manufacturers in the city, and to date it had received responses from Marion Body and Specialized Products.
“Those efforts have been made to send those letters out in hopes of partnerships,” Bagstad said.
He added that the goal is to build partnerships that will allow students to secure jobs at those businesses after high school.
“I guess it’s a little disheartening to hear that those conversations are happening when those conversations aren’t happening with us at the school,” Bagstad said.
Sirna said that was why she was addressing the board about it.
The board accepted the resignations, effective immediately, for Justin McAuly, head wrestling coach and Rod Moon, head track coach.