In this week’s article, I will cover several different topics and themes. They are not necessarily related, just kind of items to “clear off the desk!”
OPEN ENROLLMENT QUESTION
During the course of the fall, several comments and questions have come to the district about issues of open enrollment. In particular, the question has been raised about the ability of a district to close itself to open enrollment.
This is a challenging question on many levels. Initially, the Minnesota statutes provide a foundation supporting the process of open enrollment. The law assumes that schools across the state will participate in open enrollment opportunities. There has to be cause and action to limit the process.
Specifically, the law outlines that a school board may limit open enrollment but it may not actually “close” the process. Minnesota Statute 124#.03 says, “A board may, by resolution, limit the enrollment of nonresident pupils in its schools or programs…” Note that the law does not permit an end to the process; it only allows a limit.
The limit is also defined. The limit cannot be less than one percent of the total enrollment or the number of district residents who have enrolled out. Even within this, there are other issues because the board must adopt standards for acceptance and rejection of applications. Those standards “may include the capacity of a program, excluding special education services; class; or school building.” There is a long list of issues that cannot be considered. Essentially, a building or program must be full.
Beyond the limitations in statute, there is also a financial question that a school district must consider. State financial aid follows each student enrolling in or out of a district. A district may limit enrollment coming in but it cannot stop students from leaving. This condition almost assures a district of a net loss of operating funds if it chooses to place limits on the number of students coming in.
ROCORI has more students enrolling into the district than the number leaving. As such, the open enrolled students have a very positive effect on the district’s operating funds. Our district would experience significant budget reductions if open enrollment were limited.
PARENT EDUCATION INFORMATION
The ROCORI School District is a member of Resource Training and Solutions. As such, programs conducted through Resource Training and Solutions are available to ROCORI staff as well as community members.
There are a number of parent education programs being conducted through Resource Training and Solutions. The classes are part of a series labeled, Discover the Magic of Parenting. They include Parenting the Love and Logic Way (November 7 and 14), Parenting Angry Teens (December 14), 1-2-3 Magic (January 21), and Rape, Anger and Aggression in Children and Adolescents: How to Understand and Calm the Angry Mind (January 24).
Information on the classes is available on-line at resourcetraining.com or by calling 320-255-3236. More classes will be available in the spring.
ENCOURAGEMENT TO VOTE
Tuesday, November 8, is Election Day. There are a myriad of offices and positions on the ballot from the President of the United States to local officials and judges.
The ROCORI School District has School Board positions being determined in the election. The terms of current board members Mike Austreng, Nadine Schnettler and Lynn Schurman expire at the end of the calendar year. In addition, the seat previously held by Richard Bohannon is vacant.
Jason Wesenberg is the only person to file for the two years remaining on the vacant seat. Six candidates have filed for the four-year seats. The candidates include Nicole Bottleberghe, Sunny Hesse, Shannon Humbert, Debbie Nelson, Nadine Schnettler and Lynn Schurman.
School board positions are as local and direct as governing positions can become. ROCORI constituents are encouraged to go out to the polls and be sure to cast your ballot in the School Board election.
INVITATION TO COMMUNITY
The ROCORI School District will host an early morning meeting on Wednesday, November 9, at 7:30 a.m. The meeting will include information about the ROCORI academic program at each building. More importantly, those in attendance will have opportunity to ask questions about the academic program and offer feedback on our system.
The meeting is part of the district reporting process for the Minnesota Department of Education’s World’s Best Work Force (WBWF) initiative. As part of the WBWF requirements, the district must share information about the academic work of the system. Within the reporting process, community residents and parents must be afforded opportunity to comment about or offer feedback on the educational programs.
Community members are welcome, and encouraged, to participate with the meeting on November 9. It will be held in the District Board room near Door 11 of the secondary building.