On Monday night the Decorah Community School Board agreed to enter into an open enrollment agreement with the Mabel-Canton Schools for grades 7-12. The decision came about because of the request for 7th grader Robbie Michels to open enroll with Mabel-Canton. He could not open enroll via North Winneshiek because North Winneshiek will only be a PK-6 beginning next year and, therefore, Michels would be a Decorah district resident at that time.
The agreement reached with Mabel-Canton will only be valid until the potential reorganization of the Decorah and North Winneshiek Schools, anticipated for July, 2019. The Board recognized that this was a "kicking the can down the road" decision, but that they could not speak for the reorganized board of a new district. The financial impact of open enrollment dollars going to Minnesota may be limited at this time, but any future decision of a new board could be significant, given it would be a PK-12 agreement.
Superintendent Mike Haluska recommended the agreement, noting that it would only be for two years, and that a decision against such an agreement could seriously impede discussions and progress for the reorganization agreements between Decorah and North Winneshiek.
Per Board suggestion Haluska did agree to inquire with Mabel-Canton regarding them sharing (reducing) the open enrollment cost, since any such agreement could not by law allow Mabel-Canton students to open enroll in Decorah. Out of state agreements require the student in question to be residing closer to the desired open enrollment school that his/her home district, and that would never be the case with Mabel-Canton students.
Also, see our story from last week with more information on the Iowa Department of Education role in this issue: