Enrollment counts revised

Marc F. Pendleton - Dayton Daily News (TNS)

he Ohio High School Athletic Association reversed its stance on counting community school and STEM students toward public school enrollments on Thursday. As a result, all sports for the 2015-16 school year will have their divisional alignments reassessed and adjusted if necessary.

The association’s board of directors initially counted those students to enrollment counts, even though many didn’t participate in extra-curriculars and did not reside in that school district. Most of those students affected urban schools, where the majority of charter and science, technology, engineering and mathematics schools are located.

Administrators throughout the state complained to the OHSAA that it unfairly boosted inner-city enrollment ranks as compared to mostly unaffected suburban and rural school districts. For districts with multiple public schools such as the Dayton City League and similar conferences in Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Toledo, charter and STEM students were combined and divided evenly.

“I give extreme credit to our board for recognizing that and changing the course in this particular area,” OHSAA Commissioner Dr. Dan Ross said in a statement.

“The feedback we’ve received from many member schools across the state about the negative impact this had on tournament divisional movement for schools, combined with the belief that so few of these students currently take advantage of these participation opportunities, made us realize it is best for us to study this issue further.”

There was no realignment date mentioned other than “soon as possible” according to the OHSAA.

Schools that now will not have those students count toward enrollment could drop a division. As a result, those teams could bump up other teams that are currently near the high end of a divisional cutoff.

There are differing divisional alignments for most sports. All have at least two divisions and football has the most with seven.

The OHSAA made its initial ruling to include those students to enrollment figures in June. Dr. Ross said a committee will continue to determine to assess how to fairly include charter and STEM students to enrollment counts.

The Ohio House of Representatives passed Bill 487 in July 2014 that allowed those students the opportunity to participate in extra-curricular activities at their local public school. The Ohio Department of Education in turn counted those students to its enrollment counts.

Marc F. Pendleton

Dayton Daily News (TNS)

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