Health Care Law Cited In Greendale Open Enrollment Expansion
Greendale school officials said the new federal health care law is certain to increase costs, and wanted to add Open Enrollment seats at the high school to generate more revenue.
Budget uncertainty—and the new federal health care law in particular—has prompted the Greendale School District to add 14 ninth-grade seats through the state's Open Enrollment program.
While the specifics of the federal Affordable Care Act are still unfolding, Greendale school officials say it's clear health costs will increase.
The district expects at least a 4 percent increase in rates due to impact fees. In addition, at least 50 staff members not currently covered will obtain coverage through the school district—or else the district pays a penalty, Business Director Erin Green wrote in a memo.
The district also proposed adding Open Enrollment seats because sections of some core classes may have to be added due to high class sizes, Green said.
"For these reasons, we would like the certainty of knowing the $95,000 in additional revenue is available to address these additional costs, which are likely to happen," Green said. "This will assist us in building the budget for 2013-2014."
The Open Enrollment program allows students to attend schools outside their home district. The state pays districts for each student attending through Open Enrollment—in 2013-14, it's expected to be $6,574 per student.
The school board previously approved adding seats at the sixth- and seventh-grade levels. The number of students attending Greendale schools is still projected to drop next year, from 319 to 307.
"It is not expected that adding these ... seats would in any way diminish the quality of education available at GHS," Green said. "In fact, as the curriculum continues to diversify with offering more options and choices to students, they are needed to support our programming."
Adding the ninth-grade seats passed 3-2, with board members Anne Szcygiel and Melanie Kuzmanovic in opposition. Szcygiel said she is concerned about growing enrollment at the high school. Kuzmanovic said she wanted to wait until the possibility of added sections became more certain.