TIPP CITY — On Tuesday, the Tipp City Board of Education rescinded its votes from its previous meeting in regard to open enrollment within the district before officially voting it down.
At the board’s March 16 meeting, the board stated a motion to continue open enrollment within the district failed, but after consulting with the district’s lawyer and receiving clarification on how abstaining votes should be counted, district officials later found the board had still given enough votes for it to pass. At that March 16 meeting, board members Corine Doll and Joellen Heatherly voted in favor of the motion to continue open enrollment. Board President Theresa Dunaway voted against the motion, and board member Anne Zakkour abstained from voting. Board member Simon Patry was absent due to being ill.
On Tuesday, according to Treasurer David Stevens and Superintendent Dr. Gretta Kumpf, those votes were actually enough to pass the motion. The district still sent out letters to families notifying them that the board was no longer allowing open enrollment for the district prior to the district learning the actual outcome of the March 16 vote. The board attributed the mistake to BoardDocs, the program it uses to upload the agenda and document the outcomes of the meeting in real time, which had calculated the votes and incorrectly stated the motion had failed.
During a virtual meeting held on Zoom and streamed live on YouTube, the board rescinded its previous decision made on March 16 by a vote of 4-1, with board members Heatherly, Doll, Dunaway, and Zakkour voting in favor of rescinding the decision of the last board meeting. Patry voted against the motion.
Dunaway said the decision to rescind the action of the last board meeting was due to Patry being absent from the last meeting.
“We did not have votes from the full membership,” Dunaway said, adding the items warranted a “full vote” from the whole board.
After a lengthy discussion, the board later voted down open enrollment for the district by a vote of 3-2. Doll, Dunaway, and Zakkour voted against open enrollment, while Heatherly and Patry voted in favor of open enrollment.
The discussion regarding open enrollment touched on financial considerations both in favor of and against allowing students from contiguous counties to apply to enroll in Tipp City schools. The Tipp City school district receives $6,020 per open enrollment student from the state, amounting to almost $400,000. Dunaway noted a report that it costs approximately $10,000 to educate a student in Tipp City. Dunaway also spoke about concerns regarding class sizes, athletic teams, and students being in the schools early.
Patry noted the school is contractually obligated to take in approximately 30 students from outside the district because their parents work for the district. By no longer allowing open enrollment for the district, the district will no longer be able to receive the $6,020 for those students.
Board members also spoke out against some of the backlash board members received on social media following the March 16 meeting.
“There have been a very active attack on the school board,” Doll said. Doll called the backlash “heartbreaking” and said, “I was totally horrified.”
Patry also said “the attacks on President Dunaway” were “distasteful.” He called for people to make “statements appropriately with professionalism and with courtesy.”
The board also rescinded its previous motion in regard to a contract with Lean Six Sigma to provide training sessions for teachers by a vote of 4-1. Heatherly, Doll, Dunaway, and Zakkour voted in favor of rescinding the motion. Patry voted against rescinding the motion. The board then did not vote on the contract again, giving its consensus to table the contract for another two to three months until after the coronavirus pandemic is over.
Stevens also updated the board on the city of Tipp City’s previous request for the board to waive the 45 business-day notification requirement for the Meijer Distribution Center revenue sharing between the city of Tipp City and Tipp City schools. The city is no longer requesting that waiver and will be waiting for the 45-day notice period to expire on its own.
Tipp City is planning to enter into a Community Reinvestment Area Agreement with Meijer Distribution Incorporated. Meijer plans to construct a new 372,719 square foot automated warehouse structure on the 160-acre property located at 645 W. Kerr Road. As part of that agreement, Meijer is seeking a 50 percent, 15-year property tax exemption for the $120 million project. The project would retain 225 jobs and create 56 new jobs for the first year it’s open, with an estimated 65 new jobs in total.
Since Meijer is requesting a tax abatement at the 50 percent level, the board of education’s approval is not required for the city of Tipp City to approve this tax abatement. However, since the project creates a new employee payroll greater than $1 million, the city of Tipp City is required to provide revenue sharing for 50 percent of the income tax receipts on all new employees for the 15-year tax incentive period with the school district. The increase in payroll, resulting from an anticipated 56 new employees in the first year, will be approximately $3,650,000. The city is also required to give notice of this revenue-sharing to the school board 45 days prior to entering into the agreement with Meijer.
The board’s next meeting will be a work session on April 21 at 6 p.m. It will be conducted over Zoom and posted online, the links to which will be on the district’s website at tippcityschools.com.