Falls could add 42 nonresident students

District plans increase of Open Enrollment kids

Dec. 11, 2012

Menomonee Falls - The Menomonee Falls School District is considering adding 42 Open Enrollment seats for the 2013-2014 school year.

Superintendent Patricia Greco said the state is requiring districts to declare the number of seats available in January, even though it used to be a spring deadline. Once the board approves the number of Open Enrollment seats, that number of students legally has to be accepted.

Should enrollment be lower than projected, the district can add seats by selecting them off the wait list.

"We have far more demand than we have space available," Greco said.

The determination of enrollment for the next school year is based on historical data. Though it is never possible to predict exactly how many students will enter into kindergarten, Open Enrollment numbers are decided based on this data.

Enrollment for the 2012-13 school year was 58 students higher than projections based on the total number of students educated in the district, including those who require off-site education, said Director of Pupil Services Kathy Zarling during a School Board work session Monday.

The goal of the board is to have no more than 10 percent of the student population be Open Enrollment and Chapter 220 students. Approving 42 seats would put nonresident students at about 9 percent of the student population.

A balance is needed when it comes to Open Enrollment. On the one side, Open Enrollment students bring in additional dollars to help solve the budget shortfall, Business Manager Jeff Gross said. However, those seats need to be within reason because the district does not want to accept too many students where increased class sections are necessary.

Open Enrollment seats will be discussed further at the January board meeting before action is taken.

Also discussed during the work session is a need to market the district to residents who seek education outside of the district.

"We look at capturing them in 4K (4-year-old kindergarten), but how do we show them opportunities we have as a system?" Zarling said.

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