The numbers are in: The Janesville School District’s latest student count shows enrollment dropped again, both from the September count and from January 2017.
Janesville public schools have the fewest students enrolled in at least 14 years.
The total from the Jan. 12 count was 10,114 students—down 72 from the January 2017 count, according to a news release from the Janesville School District.
That’s a decrease of less than 1 percent.
The January count also dropped 29 from Sept. 15, 2017, when the district recorded 10,143 students.
It’s typical for student numbers to decrease between September and January, school officials said in a statement.
“These numbers are the net result of students moving in and out of the district, mid-year graduates and students dropping out or aging out of high school,” officials said in the news release.
But overall, both the September and January counts represent a slow decline in enrollment that matches local demographic trends, officials said.
Birth rates dipped between 2009 and 2011 but began to rise between 2012 and 2014. Children born in those years are beginning to show up in Janesville schools.
The number of students in 4-year-old kindergarten rose from 600 in January 2017 to 625 in January 2018.
The number of students attending early childhood programs increased from 80 to 81 in the same time period.
The district expects to see kindergarten and early childhood enrollment numbers continue to rise based on increasing birth rates.
Enrollment also is expected to grow based on the recent surge in economic development, said Patrick Gasper, district communication specialist.
In the past 14 years, district enrollment has risen and fallen. The September enrollment numbers have ranged from a high of 10,541 in the 2008-09 school year to a low of 10,143 this September. The high for the January count was 10,393 in the 2004-05 school year to a low of 10,114 this school year.
The last time a January count was close to this low was in the 2007-08 school year, when enrollment was 10,117.
The state Department of Public Instruction requires the September and January counts, which are used to calculate the district’s revenue limit and aid, according to the DPI’s website.
The funding formula is complicated and relies on more than student numbers, but it comes down to this: For the 2017-18 school year, each student brings about $6,748 in state aid.
Open enrollment has become a factor, too. Open enrollment allows parents to send their children to a public school outside their home district.
Last year, the Janesville School District spent an estimated $10,000 on open-enrollment marketing.
The district isn’t planning a similar marketing effort this year, Gasper said. The subject didn’t come up this year, and the school district’s goals have changed, he said.
The school board and district administration set measurable goals that aim to reflect the district’s values. In 2016-17, one of the goals was to increase open enrollment by 50 students each year.
In October, the school board approved a new five-year plan that includes targets for student achievement; parent, teacher and student satisfaction; and a variety of other goals.
Increasing open enrollment was not part of the new goals.