Janesville school enrollments up for second year in a row

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Frank Schultz
Monday, September 30, 2013

JANESVILLE—Janesville School District enrollment might have turned a corner.

After years of slow decline or treading water, the fall enrollment counts have now increased two years in a row.

Enrollment, including the part-time pre-kindergarten programs, edged up by 18 last year, and it's up by 45 this year.

District administrators sought to connect the gains to their efforts to improve academic achievement.

The district's news release noted that the district received a grade of “exceeds expectations” on the new state report card system and that the state recently cited seven of the district's schools as “schools of recognition” for success with large numbers of low-income students.

The administration is optimistic that such recognition will attract more families to send students to Janesville schools, the release states.

“It's my hope and belief we are attracting more students because of the strides we are making academically and how our students are achieving,” said Yolanda Cargile, director of student services.

“Not that that's the whole reason for why we have 45 more students, but hopefully it is an attraction,” Cargile said.

The biggest gain in the district was in charter-school enrollments. Rock River Charter School, which serves at-risk high school students, particularly saw a big increase.

Cargile noted that Rock River Charter expanded this fall to a third floor at 31 W. Milwaukee St., so that it could accommodate new students.

Rock River Charter made a big push to bring in more students who had dropped out, Cargile said. It also added a staff member.

Other charter schools increasing enrollment were TAGOS Leadership Academy, up by five, and the Janesville Virtual Academy, eight.

The increased enrollment won't mean a significant increase in district revenues, said Chief Financial Officer Keith Pennington. That's because of how the state calculates aid amounts, which are based in part on a three-year enrollment average, Pennington said.

“It's good news, but it doesn't translate into immediate dollars from aid,” Pennington said.

Sustained gains in enrollment in years to come eventually could mean more state aid, Pennington said.

Other items from the enrollment numbers released Monday:

-- If only enrollments in 5-year-old kindergarten through 12th grade are considered, the district also shows increases over the past two years. The K-12 increase this year is 50.

-- Numbers show no change in the combined enrollments of Craig and Parker high schools, 3,002.

-- Elementary school enrollment was up by 21. Middle School enrollment was down by 13.

-- Kennedy Elementary School showed an increase of 19 students. The district pointed out that six of those new students came through open enrollment. Kennedy is one of the district's award-winning schools, and it's been especially successful in attracting nearby students who live in the Milton School District.

-- The 4-year-old Kindergarten program, Preschool for Janesville, had 631 enrolled, compared to 634 last year at this time.


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