Continuing a trend of recent years, the Northern Ozaukee School Board learned last week that the district’s student count has increased this year.
According to the count on the third Friday in September, when enrollment numbers are certified by the state, the district has 720 students.
Officials said in last year’s third Friday report, the count was 704 students.
The latest tally includes 333 students at Ozaukee Elementary School, 160 at Ozaukee Middle School and 217 at Ozaukee High School.
“We are encouraged to see our student count increasing slightly,” Supt. Dave Karrels said in a report to the board.
“In addition, we are confident that our current staffing levels will be able to support this increase and provide a strong educational program to our students.”
Karrels noted the district is also hosting eight foreign-exchange students this year.
The district has 188 local students open-enrolling to schools outside the district, while attracting 86 outside students.
In the past, district officials have noted that many of those who are listed as open-enrolled out of the district have never attended local schools.
That number includes students from families that have moved to the community and opt to have their children attend their old schools. In another common scenario, parents find it more convenient to have their children attend schools near their place of employment or where they place their children in child care.
Open-enrollment is also the process used to bring students to Wisconsin Virtual Learning, the online charter school operated by the district.
The enrollment at the virtual school, which teaches students in kindergarten through 12th grade, was 422.
The charter school is operated so it pays for itself in state aids received. In addition, the program pays for a portion of several staff positions that are shared with the brick-and-mortar schools.
That enrollment represents a decline for the virtual program, and caused concern by at least one board member.
“How much lower can they go before they can no longer pay for themselves?” board member Rick Hamm asked.
Karrels said WVL has been adjusting its staffing levels to keep pace with the lower enrollment.
“WVL is still very much a positive for our district, and they have been doing a good job of making staff cuts as necessary,” he said.