Auditor: Austintown Schools’ open enrollment losing money

In 2015, the district's 686 open enrollment students made up 13.6 percent of its student population

austintown local schools

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – A state audit found that Austintown is losing out on its open enrollment policy.

The audit found that the district could save more than $766,000 by reducing its open enrollment and realigning staff.

While the district generated $1,419 for each open enrollment student, the cost to educate them resulted in a net loss of $25,652.

In 2015, the district’s 686 open enrollment students made up 13.6 percent of its total student population.

Auditor Dave Yost recommended raising the student-to-teacher ratio for kindergarten through second grade classes and ensuring accuracy of its financial forecast and long-term financial planning.

“Districts with large amounts of open enrollment students rarely get positive financial results without continuous fine-tuning,” Auditor Yost said. “If put into practice, these recommendations can help Austintown Schools boost efficiency and save a substantial amount of tax dollars.”

Superintendent Vincent Colaluca said in a response to Yost’s office that it has a staffing plan in place so as not to exceed student-to-teacher ratios. He blamed the loss of revenue on House Bill 920 and on receiving no new operating money since 1996.

“Since the inception of open enrollment in Ohio through 2007 (before Austintown had open enrollment), the Austintown Local Schools lost $9 million from students that chose to leave the district,” he wrote. “Since the Austintown Local Schools enacted open enrollment during the 2008-2009 year, the district has been able to utilize open enrollment revenue to sustain and increase resources and opportunities for our students.”

The district added that it make changes to its Food Services Department and eliminated some positions to save money.

A full copy of the performance audit is available online.