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Schwab re-elected board president

District to try online waiting list

SOLON– The waiting list for the Solon school district will soon move online.
At a reorganizational meeting Monday, Sept. 8, members of the Solon school board continued discussions on revised guidelines for the district’s open enrollment policy.
Part of that discussion included a demonstration of an online intake program for prospective open enrollees by Director of Instruction and Technology Matt Townsley.
Any family interested in open enrolling to the Solon schools would utilize the online tool once it’s up and running for getting their names on the waiting list, alleviating the responsibility from board secretary Kris Wentzien.
But the district is still a ways from officially implementing the new guidelines and the waiting list, as board members questioned the procedure and suggested some modifications.
Superintendent Sam Miller has proposed increasing the district’s cushion when it comes to capping open enrollment, the process by which a family living outside a school district’s boundaries petitions the school for a new student’s admission.
The current policy for kindergarten through fourth grades at Lakeview Elementary cuts off open enrollment when the number of students in each grade reaches a level five seats below capacity (based on class size targets).
The revised policy would increase the cut-off to 10 students below capacity.
At the Sept. 8 meeting, Miller outlined how open enrollment requests would be managed in the future. Under the proposed restrictions, only second grade would remain open at Lakeview.
The waiting list would not be the actual open enrollment application, but would serve to time-stamp entries so the district can categorize them in chronological order.
The process would remove concerns about callers receiving a busy signal and having to redial the district office, hypothetically bumping them down the line.
Kindergarten would again have an additional layer of screening because of the difference in numbers between round-up in April and August, when most first-time students have finally been enrolled.
Beginning with the 2015-2016 kindergarten class, the district is proposing two rounds of open enrollment review; one in May with a total cap of 90 students and one in August with a cap of 100 students. That would still leave room for 10 additional students to move in to the district, a population the district is obliged to serve.
“The idea behind that is it provides more capacity for people moving to Solon,” Miller said. Over the summer, he said, the district had 12 sixth-grade students move into the district. While that’s an anomaly, he said, “it demonstrates that we need to have probably more capacity than we’ve had in the past.”
The digital signup was initially proposed for only those grades closed to open enrollment, but some board members felt all grades should be directed there.
“Wouldn’t you still make everybody do this so you had a record?” board member Rick Jedlicka asked.
Board member Tim Brown agreed. “I think the question is a matter of process,” he noted. “Do we have to call Kris (Wentzien) to find out whether they have to fill out the form online or do you just want them to fill out the form online and then we’ll contact you if there’s space?”
Board member Dan Coons was also on board, noting it could protect the district if there were five applicants for four available spots.
There was also a suggestion from board member Dean Martin asking the enrolling family to provide a primary phone number that could be relied on for up to a year.
The policy and the guidelines will be before the board for formal approval at its Oct. 13 meeting.

The Sept. 8 meeting also the time for the board members to re-elect a president and vice-president, and both stood for another term, although only one ended up with the job.
Outgoing president Dick Schwab was re-elected unopposed to the post of president, while Rick Jedlicka will take over from Tim Brown as vice-president.
“I think we’ve got a lot of work in progress,” Schwab said after taking his oath of office. “And I think we’ve got a very strong board. We’re not always of the same mind, which I think brings strength, but we in a very constructive way discuss the issues, discuss our differences, and then once we’ve decided, we support the decision.”
Schwab broke a 2-2 tie on the vice presidency, casting his vote in favor of Jedlicka.
During a short comment period, Jedlicka said he eventually wants to lead the board and saw the vice-presidency as a natural step.