Three of Washington County's public school districts gain students through the open enrollment process while three lose students - and funding.
Ohio's open enrollment practice allows parents to send their children to other districts if they choose, although that district can deny the students. Typically, if that's done, it's due to overcrowded classes in a particular grade or building.
This school year, as in years past, the Warren Local, Fort Frye Local and Wolf Creek Local districts gained more students through open enrollment than they lost, while the Belpre City, Marietta City and Frontier Local students lost more students than they gained.
"It is a consideration when we look at program cuts and reducing offerings," said Marietta Board of Education President Greg Gault. "We know we could lose kids to other districts when that happens."
Marietta currently has 68 students coming into the district from other school systems and 117 leaving the district to attend other schools. That means a loss of $284,450 in state funding that's based on student enrollment.
In the Frontier Local district, 27 students are coming in through open enrollment and 32 students are leaving, meaning a loss of $25,649.
|Washington County open enrollment numbers|
|District||Students entering||Students exiting|
|Fort Frye Local||113||56|
|Wolf Creek Local||56||50|
|Source: Times research.|
There are 115 Belpre City students choosing other options and 59 students from outside the district choosing Belpre, meaning a $324,999 loss for the district.
In the Warren Local district, numbers typically remain steady, with the schools gaining about 100 more students each year than they lose through open enrollment, said Superintendent Tom Gibbs.
"It does fluctuate, but not too much," he said. "Since I've been here I think the highest was 117 students and the lowest was 99 students."
This year, the district has 219 students entering the district through open enrollment and 117 leaving, meaning a funding increase of $585,165.
In the Wolf Creek district, 56 students came in through open enrollment and 50 students left, meaning a $33,165 increase, while in the Fort Frye district, 113 students entered the schools from other districts and 56 left to go to other districts. That means $331,268 in funding to accompany the students.
Gibbs said most of the district-switching takes place as students either enter kindergarten or high school.
Gault said what high school options are available seems to play a large part in the decision at Marietta.
"I've talked to some parents whose children have left the district, and they say it has to do with the type of course offerings," he said.
Other parents might enroll their child in a certain district because it may be closer to home or work or it may have been the district where they attended school.