Gadfly Bites 10/31/18 – Subtext

  1. Stop me if you’ve heard this before: “This report card is not an accurate depiction of all the work we do as a school district, which is what most superintendents in Ohio would agree (with), including those districts that received A grades.” I would agree with this too, but probably not in the same way as the superintendent of Reynoldsburg City Schools intends it. Nevertheless, Reynoldsburg is said to be working to improve parts of its report card ratings for the future, including test scores and a stubbornly high absenteeism rate. Which is good, no matter the grudging motivation. (ThisWeek News, 10/29/18)
     
  2. Liberty Local Schools is looking to remain in the black, budget-wise, for the next five years. While this positive projection is predicated on passing a levy next week (when isn’t it, I ask you), the real meat of this story is in the subtext. Liberty gained more than 130 students this year, and of course the state funding that comes with them. It is stated that more than 1/3 of those students have come in to the district via open enrollment and the rest are “district residential students”. Supe says that great new programs are what drew the crowds, but that is likely only a small part of the reason. My loyal Gadfly Bites subscribers (salut to the Savvy Six!) will remember that Liberty Local had to forbid all of its resident students from leaving via open enrollment to go to the desirable nearby Austintown district while maintaining the fully porous borders for incoming students. This maneuver has clearly had the desired but still-unstated effect, as reflected in the treasurer’s report: None of our kids money going to Austintown and plenty of kids money coming in from Youngstown and elsewhere. (Youngstown Vindicator, 10/30/18)

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Jeff Murray
Jeff Murray is the Ohio Operations Manager of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute,