Oversight Commission makes additional directives for Coventry Local Schools

The Financial Planning and Supervision Commission made requests for several additional pieces of information during a recent meeting.

During the Oct. 29 meeting, the commission directed Coventry Local Schools Treasurer Sherry Tyson to include the plan and the effects of open enrollment in the revenue and expenditure lines of the five-year forecast, including detailed assumptions used in the forecast to align with the open enrollment projections provided by Superintendent Lisa Blough and approved by the Coventry Board of Education. It is to be completed and provided to the commission by Nov. 21.

The commission also directed Blough and the Coventry Board of Education to participate in a joint meeting with the Coventry Financial Planning and Supervision Commission for a presentation by the Summit County insurance director, with an invitation to the representatives of CEA and OAPSE (Local #131).

Blough gave a brief presentation on open enrollment and how the district projects the numbers in the future.

Commission member Sean Fremon asked if the plan was board approved. Blough said the board supports the plan, but it is not officially approved. She also said the board never has approved a plan in the past.

Blough said when it comes to enrollment, the district is taking a strategic approach as the numbers often change. She said open enrollment has been dropping in the district.

Blough said there have been differing opinions on open enrollment as the state auditor said the district is losing money, while the district’s open enrollment study showed the district is making money.

“Every single person has their own opinion of open enrollment,” Blough said. “My job is to hear all the opinions and base my decisions on the best interests of students.”

The open enrollment plan presented by Blough shows about 40 fewer open enrolled students each year.

Fremon said the numbers being proposed for the five-year-forecast are nowhere close to those from the May forecast.

“I am not going to approve a five-year-forecast with general assumptions,” Fremon said.

Commission member Holly Miller said she wants to see the open enrollment plan be approved by the board also.

Insurance change

Miller asked Tyson if the Request for Proposal (RFP) the district already had was sent out to the two insurance consultants.

Tyson said neither saw the RFP.

“I am very disappointed with that,” Miller said.

Tyson said the entire process was hurried.

The commission had asked the district to find consultants representing multiple school districts. The two consultants the district selected were Zaluski Insurance and NFP. Zaluski represents Niles City Schools and NFP represents 47 public schools.

Miller said they asked for consultants experienced with multiple schools.

Tyson said Zaluski has that experience.

“The directive was very clear,” Miller said.

Facility study

Blough also announced the district plans to do a facilities study next year to determine how to best utilize the district’s buildings.

There has been some discussion about closing the elementary school and moving the students to the middle school. Blough said this is a plan she does not approve.

She said the goal overall is to right-size the district.

The next Financial and Supervision Commission meeting is set for 4:30 p.m. Nov. 26 at Coventry Elementary School.

This story was also published in The Suburbanite. www.thesuburbanite.com