Written by MARK JAEGER
Wednesday, 30 October 2013 15:31
Student numbers are key factor in state funding; district officials hope trend can be reversed
Student enrollment in the Northern Ozaukee School District has continued to decline, according to the latest numbers submitted to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
The district’s official third Friday in September enrollment was 699 students, although one student has enrolled since that report was filed.
Supt. Blake Peuse noted that last year’s enrollment count was 710, but that number grew to 725 by the end of the 2012-13 school year.
“There is a likelihood and probability that our enrollment will increase up to and through the second Friday in January count date,” Peuse said.
The primary reason for the enrollment decline is smaller incoming classes, he said.
As an example, Peuse’s analysis noted last year’s graduating class had 55 students. The incoming four-year-old kindergarten class had 42 students.
“This is already a difference of 13 students, so we can look at this as a possible start to the decrease,” Peuse said.
He said records show a number of families also moved out of the district over the summer.
“We lost at least six students from these moves out of the district,” Peuse said. “What we do not know is what we need to be proactive in attracting and retaining families to the district and we are working on some models to help us with this process for the next school year.”
The fall enrollment at Ozaukee Elementary School: total kindergarten dropped from 93 to 81; first grade dropped from 48 to 40; second grade rose from 38 to 48; third grade fell from 67 to 39; and fourth grade rose from 36 to 66.
Enrollment at the middle school: sixth grade dropped from 52 to 49; seventh grade jumped from 39 to 62; and eighth grade fell from 61 to 39.
At the high school: ninth grade jumped from 47 to 58; 10th grade fell from 65 to 55; 11th grade rose from 57 to 66; and 12th grade rose from 52 to 56.
Peuse said district officials are still trying to come to grips with the nuances of the state’s open enrollment system.
“While our number of total open enrollment out students went up by five students (178 to 183) from the first count date last year, we also graduated about 20 students,” he said.
In many cases, Peuse said families move into the community yet continue to have their children attend their old public or private schools.
Peuse said only six of the 39 families who requested open enrollment out were in the school district previously.
He said the best way to counter open enrollment of the district is to make Northern Ozaukee a desirable educational option.
“We need to keep our focus on looking at the long-term where we will see the steady decline of students open enrolling out of our system and creating great opportunities for those who move into our district to prefer coming to our schools,” Peuse said.
Open enrollment numbers into the district have increased from 52 to 64. The greatest increase was at the high school, where 29 students enrolled in — compared to 21 last year.