November 29, 2014

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Parents line up, spend night for chance at open enrollment at Clearview

SHEFFIELD TWP. — In what may be a profound expression of love, parents huddled outside Clearview High School in the cold and intense rain overnight in the hopes of getting their children into the district via open enrollment registration, which begins today.

Most of the parents came from the neighboring Lorain City School District and said they were seeking better opportunities for their children.

No. 1 and No. 2 in line Monday night for the signups at Clearview offices in Sheffield Township are Eunice Ramirez and Margie Figueroa, both of Lorain. They got a little help keeping warm from propane heaters. (CT photo by Bruce Bishop.)

No. 1 and No. 2 in line Monday night for the signups at Clearview offices in Sheffield Township are Eunice Ramirez and Margie Figueroa, both of Lorain. They got a little help keeping warm from propane heaters. (CT photo by Bruce Bishop.)

Lorain resident Eunice Ramirez and Margie Figueroa were some of the first in line. They both have children who already attend Clearview and were hoping to get their younger children into the district. Both currently attend St. Peter’s of Lorain, a private Catholic school.

“It’s a smaller school, it’s more personal,” Ramirez said of Clearview.

Figueroa said her son, now a senior, has done well at Clearview, and she believes her daughter will also have a positive experience at the district.

Another group of women huddled together under a pop-up shade tent with tarp walls. They sat wrapped in felt blankets circling a large propane heater. All said they were there because of the stiff competition for the 15 freshman open enrollment spots this year.

“We kept driving by waiting to see when people would start lining up,” said Cindy Hall of Lorain. When they spotted someone sitting outside the doors Sunday afternoon, they quickly set up camp.

“We don’t care for the (Lorain school) system,” Hall said of her reasons for trying to get her son into Clearview. She said she and her husband checked the report cards for neighboring districts now that their son, who also currently attends St. Peter’s of Lorain, will be going into ninth grade.

“The high school in Lorain has changed so much with the merger of Southview and Admiral King,” Hall said, and she believes the academic offerings and smaller class sizes at Clearview will be better for her son.

While the parents were still outside around 5 p.m. Monday, Clearview school board member Connie Finney said the district eventually moved the parents to the auditorium due to the severe weather the area saw Sunday night. Parents were given tickets based on their order in line.

Finney said competition for the few open enrollment spots available in the district has grown fiercer in recent years.

“I guess it’s just wanting a good school where they feel safe,” Finney said of parents. “The majority are from Lorain.”

According to Clearview’s website, there are 15 freshman open enrollment slots available, 13 first-grade slots, four fifth-grade slots and an undetermined amount of kindergarten slots depending on how many in-district registrations are filed.

Finney said she believes open enrollment may have been available at Clearview as far back as the 1980s, but only in the past four or five years have large numbers parents started lining up to compete for a slot.

Finney said last year the district received the rating of Effective from the Ohio Department of Education, which is one grade lower than Excellent. Lorain City Schools was listed in “academic watch” last year.

Contact Kaitlin Bushinski at (440) 329-7144 or kbushinski@chroniclet.com.