Open enrollment numbers soar in Wisconsin - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Open enrollment numbers soar in Wisconsin

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WAUSAU (WAOW) -

A record number of students in Wisconsin are choosing to go to school in a different district than where they live. Open enrollment began last week and educators say so far the response has been overwhelming.

Throughout the years open enrollment has gained serious momentum.

"People are always looking for that next best educational opportunity for kids," Jeff Lindell, Director of Pupil Services for the Wausau School District said.

According to the Department of Public Instruction, the number of students using open enrollment has nearly doubled in five years. Right now more than 40,000 students statewide attend school in a different district than they live. Each students bring $6,000 in state funding to their new school.

At the Wausau School District, school officials say more than 200 students transferred in, while 194 transferred out.

"There are all kinds of options out there for parents," Lindell said.

Options like charter schools and virtual classrooms. Educators say non-traditional ways of learning are starting to become a popular option for students.


In fact, 31% of those transferring out of the Wausau's district are transferring in to non-traditional education.

"They go that directions because they feel like it's an area where they can thrive," Lindell explained.

Educators at the DC Everest school district say they're seeing the same trends.  While their enrollment numbers aren't quite as high as Wausau's, they say parents are using open enrollment to find the right kind of education for their child. 

"Anytime you can give students and families options and choices that's certainly a good thing," Assistant Superintendent Lois Alt said.

And educations say that's the goal.

"It's all about finding the right niche of students and without fail we want them to be successful and receive that high school diploma," Lindell said.

Last year Governor Walker signed a bill that extended the open enrollment deadline from three weeks, to three months. This years application period started February 4th and it runs through April 30th.

If you're interested in learning more about open enrollment, or would like to fill out an application click here:  https://www2.dpi.state.wi.us/opal2012/

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