West Geauga Local Board of Education approved the annual guidelines for open enrollment for the 2020-21 school year on Monday night with changes to caps for new students coming into the district, transportation and notification dates for acceptance.

Director of Pupil Personnel Amy Davis presented the guidelines to the board during the regular meeting.

Open enrollment allows students from other public districts to attend classes at West G.

To accommodate students entering West G from the Newbury Local Schools, Ms. Davis said that the district has set more “conservative” caps on new students seeking open enrollment for the 2020-21 school year in order to keep seats open for returning students from other districts.

“We wanted to make sure that we were able to maintain our current open-enrolled students and that we would be able to offer some opportunities (to new open-enrolled students), but carefully,” she said.

District officials said they need to consider the pending territory transfer of the Newbury Local School District to West G that officially would go into effect for 2020-2021 academic year.

With estimated numbers of incoming students between West G and Newbury, no new open-enrolled students will be accepted at the elementary levels for the 2020-2021 school year. The district will accept a “limited amount” of new open-enrolled students at the middle school level. For high school, Ms. Davis said the district will allow a more “generous” amount of new open-enrolled students for grades nine and 10 but limited for grades 11 and 12.

Currently, West G has 188 open-enrolled students for the 2019-2020 school year, she said.

As for transportation, Ms. Davis said West G will no longer provide transportation to and from school for both new and returning open-enrolled students due to constraints with busing.

She said that while not many open-enrolled students take advantage of school transportation, the change was needed to make sure the district can transport its residential students and the incoming Newbury students.

Board member Ben Kotowski asked if the district would be able to transport open-enrolled students already within the bus routes, to which Ms. Davis answered, “Probably not at this point,” explaining that the number of students on the buses is also a factor in the change. “We could re-examine that moving forward,” she added. “Right now, we’re saying no just because we need to know what our numbers are.”

The enrollment period will be between Jan. 17 and Feb. 3, according to the guidelines. Ms. Davis said approval or denial of new open enrolled students was moved to May 31 to give the district time to know its standard enrollment with the pending territory transfer. Returning open-enrolled students, however, will be notified of acceptance by Feb. 3.

In other news, board members William Beers and Chet Ramey were nominated as board president and vice president, respectively, for 2020. Dr. Beers was not sworn in as the new board president during the meeting due to his absence and will be sworn in at a later time, while Treasurer Karen Penler swore in Mr. Ramey as vice president.

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