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Only Four Open Spots in School District's Open Enrollment Program

School Board decided to open three fourth-grade seats and one fifth-grade seat Wednesday night.

The already has more than 650 non-resident students that want to attend through the open enrollment program, but only four of those students will make it into the district.

The School Board voted Wednesday night to open three fourth-grade seats and one fifth-grade seat to non-residents through the open enrollment program. The board allocated 28 seats overall, with 24 of those seats being offered to tuition waiver students who will be reclassified as open enrollment students.

Kapocius said overall enrollment looks as if it will increase, and rising resident enrollment might further limit open enrollment availability next year. 

Overall, about 60 students attend Whitefish Bay schools through open enrollment, which district Human Resources Director Mark Kapocius said is a lower percentage than most school districts. Seventeen Whitefish Bay residents open enroll into other school districts.

Nine current open enrollment students are expected to graduate in spring, and four of those slots will be filled with the board's allocation Wednesday night. Although that leaves an difference of five students, Kapocius said there is still a technical uptick in students classified as open enrollment.

If all 28 open seats are filled, the program will bring in approximately $6,948 per student in additional revenue for the 2012-13 school district budget. Kapocius said he does not anticipate the limitation in open enrollment spots to impact the district's budget.

The open enrollment period for the 2012-13 school year started on Feb. 6 and lasts until April 30, due to a bill Gov. Scott Walker signed into law on Feb. 1. Previously, parents were only given a 3-week period to complete open enrollment applications.

The law also requires the school board to approve open enrollment seats in January, as opposed to March. 

"It creates additional stressor on us to come up with these projections, with not as firm of data," Kapocius said.

Superintendent Mary Gavigan said there is a lot of conversation about the law change among school administrators, but Whitefish Bay is not impacted as much as others.

"We would probably be one of the least impacted school districts in the state, when you think of the broad range that open enrollment has grown in many districts, because of the very few students we have enrolling in and the very few students we have enrolling out," Gavigan said.

Shawn Matson March 08, 2012 at 06:59 PM
And we wonder why racism persists.

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