LISBON - The village school district intends to become more aggressive in wooing back students lost to online schools.
Superintendent Don Thompson reported at the recent board finance committee meeting he intends to ask they create the title of online school coordinator and combine it with another position, the purpose of which is stop the loss of Lisbon students to online schools and encourage others who left to return.
As online schools have proliferated, so has the exodus of Lisbon students to these schools. To address the loss, Thompson said Lisbon will be increasing its online offerings.
"There is no question online schools are the future and we have to get on board to mitigate our losses," he said, adding they also intend to contact people who home school their children to let them know what the district has to offer online.
Enrollment is one of the key sources of revenue for a school system since state funding is partially based on the number of students. Lisbon's enrollment has been on the decline since 1998, when it reached 1,368. It was 1,043 last year and dropped to 1,001 in 2011-12.
According to figures provided by Thompson, the district lost $137,760 in state funding this year because of Lisbon students enrolled at online schools.
In other action, Thompson reported receiving a letter from district residents Gary and Vanessa Groubert asking the board consider creating a wrestling program at the junior high level. Thompson said the first step would be for him to determine if there was sufficient interest among parents.
Unlike fall sports, where boys have several options, Thompson said the only winter sports Lisbon offers to boys is basketball, and wrestling is a winter sport.
Board member Jeff Elliott said if they are interested in ever having wrestling as a varsity sport they would need to begin at the junior high level.
Thompson also reported he had his staff determine how much land the district owns and was surprised to learn it was 18.5 acres. He did this because the board might be interested in leasing the property for shale gas drilling.
Members pointed out most of the parcels were located in the village. "I don't think it matters," said board member Gene Gallo. "It's worth looking into. There's no reason not to."