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Board plans to add 52 new Open Enrollment seats

Menomonee Falls to graduate 46 nonresident students this year

Jan. 14, 2014

Menomonee Falls — The Menomonee Falls School Board is considering adding 52 Open Enrollment seats at the elementary level.

The board will take action on Jan. 27 to add 11 seats in 5-year-old kindergarten; 21 seats in first grade; 10 seats in second grade; and 10 in third grade.

"We bring them in at the elementary level so we have the major opportunity to educate them and (the seats) would be spread throughout the elementary schools," Director of Pupil Services Kathy Zarling said.

The proposal does not include the addition of new Chapter 220 students.

Open Enrollment is a state program that allows families to apply to nonresident districts in order to be educated. Chapter 220 is an integration program started in Milwaukee in the 1970s to help desegregate area districts. There are currently 137 students attending Falls schools through Chapter 220 out of the 345 nonresident student population, according to district documents.

Last year, the Menomonee Falls School Board approved 41 new Open Enrollment seats. There are 46 nonresident students expected to graduate at the end of the 2013-14 school year; therefore, staff requested the board approve 52 seats that will help keep enrollment numbers flat and aid in balancing the budget, Director of Business Services Jeff Gross said.

By adding 52 seats, 10 percent of the school population would be nonresident students, Zarling said.

She said they are not proposing any new Chapter 220 seats because the minority population in the district is continuing to increase, particularly at the elementary level where they typically add new Open Enrollment seats.

The Menomonee Falls School District gets between 600 and 700 Open Enrollment requests every year. The window to apply to attend another district spans the month of February. Students can apply through the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction website at dpi.wi.gov.

Zarling said people who do not have access to a computer can contact district offices to schedule an appointment to apply.

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