Accustomed to being on the opposite side of the equation, open enrollment costs 16 students
For the first time in years, Grafton School District is losing students via open enrollment.
The district this year had a net loss of 16 students, according to a report Director of Special Education and Student Services Susanne Lilly presented at the Feb. 27 School Board meeting.
Grafton took in 26 students but 42 left. It’s the first deficit in five years.
“I know one year doesn’t make a trend, but these numbers are disturbing to me,” board member Daniel McKelvey.
The two districts most impacting Grafton’s open enrollment are Port Washington-Saukville and Cedarburg. This year, Grafton got seven students from Port and two from Cedarburg. Twelve students from Grafton went to Port and 22 to Cedarburg.
McKelvey said he thinks November’s failed referendum could be a factor in the increase of students leaving the district, especially those going to Cedarburg.
“Maybe it’s a coincidence. I doubt it,” he said.
Lilly said the seats available in area districts affect how many leave Grafton.
Supt. Jeff Nelson, who had been principal of Cedarburg High School, said if a district finds more seats after the school year it can start contacting those on the waiting list.
“Cedarburg opened the flood gates in June,” he said.
Director of Business Services Topher Adams said districts lose or receive $6,700 per student in open enrollment. For Grafton, that means a loss of $174,200.
“We don’t want to balance our budget on open enrollment,” Nelson said, “but it is a source.”
In Grafton’s biggest student pickup via open enrollment over the past six years, the district was up 26 students in 2013-14. That year, 17 students from Port and 15 from Cedarburg came to the district. Seven went to Port and eight went to Cedarburg.