Open enrollment benefits some and hurts others
EVANSVILLE--Area school districts winning the battle of school choice generally have continued to gain students while districts losing students continue to lose more, according to data from districts in Rock and Walworth counties.
Districts with a net gain in open enrollment remain islands while surrounding districts have seen their net losses increase. Janesville, for example, has increased from a net gain of 20 students in the 2008-09 school year to a net gain of 100 students this year.
Meanwhile, surrounding districts such as Milton, Evansville and Parkview have lost more students.
Open enrollment allows families to apply to send their students to districts other than their resident districts. In the last school year, the state had 36,007 applications for open enrollment, according to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. This year, a law change expanded the regular time period for families to apply for open enrollment, while a change also allows requests to be made at any point in a school year for special circumstances.
The Gazette surveyed area districts for open enrollment data for 5-year-old kindergarten through 12th grade and also asked each district where their students were coming from and going to. The results show virtual schools are an emerging factor.
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