CLINTON — The Clinton School District has partnered with several other districts throughout the county to allow students from other schools to participate in unique Clinton High School athletic opportunities. The district also has an open enrollment problem.

For this reason, Jack Wenzel and several other school board members are holding off on re-upping those “cooperative athletic sharing agreements.” To them, it doesn’t seem fair that while families choose to leave the district behind, they can still tap into CHS’s resources.

“With as many kids as we have open enroll to other districts, they’re going to turn around back to our district (for sports)?” Wenzel said, following Monday’s regular board meeting. “I don’t think it’s fair ... This is the way I’ve felt for four years.”

With Missey Sullivan-Pope absent, board members were at a stalemate when faced with agreements for the Prince of Peace, Central Clinton, Camanche and Northeast school districts. They voted 3-3 on boys and girls athletic agreements, with Eric Gettes and Dana Evers joining Wenzel in the “no” column. Board members will revisit the matter during their April 27 Committee of the Whole meeting.

Each district sends students to Clinton for a variety of sports: swimming, soccer, football, wrestling, tennis and softball. Meanwhile, the latest state certified enrollment numbers indicate 353 students open enrolled out of Clinton schools, with only 40 open enrolling in.

It’s a net loss of 313. Last month, the board approved a $1.2 million reduction to its general fund. With the state funneling more than $6,000 funding per student, open enrollment cost Clinton schools almost $1.9 million in lost revenues this year.

Wenzel isn’t completely opposed to co-oping. In the case of Prince of Peace, he said families are choosing to enroll in private education.

But the balance of Clinton kids are apparently going to the district’s two closest neighbors. Northeast had a net open enrollment gain of 283. More than 60 percent of that district’s population open enrolls in. Camanche net-gained 196; open enrollees account for one quarter of the student body.

State data does not indicate what percentage of those students originated in the Clinton School District boundaries. But it’s no secret to Wenzel and others that Clinton schools are losing out.

“We still accommodate (the students) using our facilities,” Wenzel said. “If they’re going to go to school there, then they should have to use the facilities they have. There’s no sense in building facilities to have them go there and then come here for sports.”

Assistant Editor Brenden West can be contacted at brendenwest@clintonherald.com

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