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JANESVILLE

Janesville School District enrollment has dropped again, and this time it’s below the 10,000-student mark—the first time it’s been that low in 15 years.

On Tuesday, the school district released student counts for the second Friday of January: a total of 9,969 students in early childhood programs through 12th grade. That’s down 129 students from last January’s count of 10,098.

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That’s a decrease of 1.28 percent.

The January count also was down from the September count of 10,049. The drop between September and January enrollment is not unusual, according to a news release from the district.

Students can move out of the district. Some graduate early, and others age out of high school.

Both September and January counts show a slow decline in enrollment that matches local demographics and state trends.

Statewide, overall enrollment dropped from 880,031 in the 2004-05 school year to 860,138 in the 2017-18 school year, a decrease of 2.26 percent.

In the same time period, enrollment in the Janesville School District declined from 10,450 to 10,143, a decrease of 2.93 percent.

Locally, birthrates dipped between 2009 and 2011 but began to rise again between 2012 and 2014.

Between last fall and early this year, the district added 70 students to its 4-year-old kindergarten classes.

The state Department of Public Instruction requires school districts to count students the third Friday in September and the second Friday in January. The numbers are used to calculate districts’ revenue limits and the amount of aid they receive.

The numbers matter.

The state’s funding formula is complicated and relies on a variety of factors, but each student brings in an estimated $7,000 in state aid.

Enrollment also drives staffing.

Because of the decrease in enrollment, the district has the equivalent of 36 fewer full-time employees than it did at this time last year, when it had 129 more students.

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