Community Schools Sponsor Update

Community Schools Sponsor Update

October Office of Community School Update


Greetings Community School Leaders and Sponsors, 

The 2020-2021 school year presents unique challenges as all schools implement Remote Learning plans in response to COVID-19.  Ensuring students who attend in-person learning opportunities have reliable access to pupil transportation is a critical factor during these unprecedented times.   Currently, the only option available for a community school to provide transportation for the students for the 2020-2021 school year is to enter into an agreement with the resident district. 

  • Ohio Revised Code 3314.091(A)(1-4) allows for a district board of education to enter into an agreement with a community school's governing authority that designates the community school as responsible for providing or arranging for the transportation of the district's native students to and from the community school. The agreement must also be signed by the community school sponsor.  
In order for these agreements to be effective, they must be submitted to the Department no later than November 15, 2020.  

In terms of sequence, the Department recommends governing authorities of each community school seeking to explore this option:
  1. Reach out to the local school district to enter into an agreement for the governing authority of each school to assume responsibility for transportation native students of the resident district.  This agreement must also be reviewed and approved by your sponsor [ORC 3314.091(A)].
  2. File a T-1 report for any school exploring this option by October 15th (even if the count is zero, this will allow you to submit an amended T-1 report).
    1. We understand this deadline is fast approaching, however if this option is one your school wishes to explore, we would encourage submitting the T-1 report to keep this option available, even if the initial report is zero, as your school works to reach an agreement with the local school district.
  3. Once the school has secured the agreement, ensure your EMIS data reflects the students each school is transporting on the Student FD record. 
For a community school to take on the requirements for transporting students, there are several factors that should be considered:
  1. All requirements of Ohio Revised Code 4511.76 must be followed
  2. All requirements of Ohio Administrative Code 3301-83 must be followed.
  3. All requirements of Ohio Revised Code 3327.01 must be followed.
  4. In order to meet the requirements of Ohio Revised Code 3327.01 as well as seek transportation reimbursement from the state, a community school must submit the appropriate T1 report to the Ohio Department of Education Transportation Department by October 15th. Also, a community school must report ridership into EMIS.  Community School ridership numbers must be calculated during the first full week of October.  If an Amendment to the T1 report is requested by the Community School, a revised and updated report may be submitted to the Ohio Department of Education by January 31st.
Professional Development Opportunities: Additional Reminders:
  • As a reminder, Ohio Revised Code 3314.032 states that “the operator with which the governing authority of a community school contracts for services shall not lease any parcel of real property to that community school until an independent professional in the real estate field verifies via addendum that at the time the lease was agreed to the lease was commercially reasonable.” In an effort to ensure schools continue to meet the requirements in ORC 3314.032, the department is asking sponsors to upload a copy of the lease agreement and a copy of an addendum indicating that at the time the lease was agreed to, the lease was commercially reasonable for any school that this requirement applies to. In the instance where the governing authority of the school holds a lease with an operator, and the lease has been renewed, the sponsor should upload a copy of the renewed lease along with an addendum indicating that at the time the lease was agreed to, the lease was commercially reasonable.  
  • District roll up of affiliated community school performance data forms are now available on the Department website.
Fiscal Reminders
  • Community School Annual Budget – Reminder that the annual budget for community schools must be adopted by the governing authority by Oct. 31. The annual budget must be uploaded in Epicenter by Oct. 31 and the board resolution/minutes are due by Dec. 31. Click here for technical assistance on completing the budget and here for the annual budget template.
  • Five-Year Forecasts - Forecasts are required to be submitted by Nov. 30. Click here for more information.
    • Expenses Related to PPE and Cleaning Materials – Any funds projected to be expended on PPE or cleaning materials should be listed under supplies and materials. If the school is working with a vendor or service, please include that information in Purchase Service-Other.
  • General notes on the Five-Year Forecasts – Please look carefully at the projected enrollment number when planning. Previous enrollment trends are important to consider when forecasting; however, if your school is expecting a significant increase in enrollment, careful thought should be given as to why and should be discussed within the assumption’s narrative. 
  • Note on Annual Budget and Forecasts – Both required documents provide important information on the financial position of your school and outline the plan for using your resources to support students in the upcoming year. We strongly encourage you to use both tools to help guide decisions for the upcoming year.
Karl J. Koenig
Office of Community Schools