The Janesville School District’s overall enrollment has dropped again, but the number of students enrolling from other districts has increased.
The district released Monday its annual enrollment count it conducts on the third Friday in September. Total enrollment in early-childhood programs through 12th grade is 9,889, down 172 students from last year, according to a news release from the district.
That’s the lowest enrollment in at least 15 years—and it’s lower than January’s count, when the district dropped below the 10,000-student mark.
The numbers reflect statewide demographic trends, which show enrollment is down, according to the state Department of Public Instruction.
In Janesville, birth rates had been down but began to increase in 2012. Kindergarten enrollment has climbed every year since the 2016-17 school year and is now at 683, an increase of 55 students over last year.
The school district also saw its net open enrollment numbers increase.
Open enrollment allows students to attend schools outside their own district. When students move from one district to another, their state aid money goes with them. Every student a district loses to open enrollment costs money.
As of the third Friday count, 598 students had open enrolled into the district, and 397 open enrolled out, for a net of 201 students, according to the release.
Rock University High School, a district-run charter school, enrolled 48 more students than it did last year. This is the first year the school has had a freshman class, and many of those students open enrolled into the district.
The Department of Public Instruction requires school districts to count students on the third Friday in September and the second Friday in January. The numbers are used to calculate districts’ revenue limits and the amount of state aid they receive.
The numbers matter.
The state’s funding formula is complicated and relies on many factors, but each student brings in an estimated $7,000 in state aid.
Enrollment also drives staffing. District officials had anticipated that enrollment would decline. As a result, the district has five fewer teachers this year, said Patrick Gasper, the district’s public information officer.
Retirements and reassignments for current teachers meant that no teachers were laid off.