Enrollment is moving targetChange is usually a good thing but it can present challenges, especially when it comes to school enrollment.
By: Meg Heaton, Hudson Star-Observer
Change is usually a good thing but it can present challenges, especially when it comes to school enrollment.
The current number of elementary-age children enrolled in the Hudson School District is 2,503, 49 students more than at the start of school in September 2008.
According to Nancy Sweet, deputy district director that number is the same as she reported to the Board of Education at their meeting last month but where those children are attending has changed. Some of the movement is the result of withdrawals from the district, some from moves into or around the district as well as from some boundary exceptions, often requested because of daycare arrangements. (Parents provide transportation in most of those cases)
“It is a dynamic situation and changes come in at almost all levels. The enrollments have changed at five of our six elementry schools. There can be a lot of movement over the summer and it is hard to predict where we will be when we open on Sept.1,” said Sweet.
The school board spent considerable time at their last meeting discussing what to do with the fifth grade at Houlton Elementary where enrollment now sits at 33 students, one more than there was last month. The board voted to provide a .6 full-time teacher as well as an educational assistant for the class.
The proposed budget includes three full-time teachers if needed. Sweet urged the board to go with a part-time teacher for Houlton until the district is certain that teachers won’t be needed elsewhere in the district.
At the school board meeting on Tuesday, Sweet reported that there are eight other grade levels at four other elementary schools that are at or near maximum enrollment guidelines. The guidelines for class size as adopted by the school board at for K-2, 18-22, and 3-5, 22-27. Sweet said her office will continue to monitor these grades.
There are also nine grades at four of the schools that are under minimum enrollment guidelines. They will also be monitored.
Sweet said she and the board’s personnel committee are not recommending any staffing changes at this time but will wait until after the start of school to see how many students actually show up. Sweet said there are three dates to watch—the first day of school, the day after Labor Day, and the official Department of Public Instruction count that is taken on the third Friday of September.
“Enrollment can and often does change around those dates and we will be monitoring things very closely,” Sweet said.
The district is also keeping a close eye on middle school enrollment. Prior to formal registration this week, middle school enrollment was up by 35 students over last September. “We are concerned about staffing at the middle school. If those numbers increase we may need to use those additional teachers there. We’ll know more after registration this week but we want to keep our options open to make the best use of the resources we have.”
The chart with this story lists the schools and grade levels referred to here. For more information contact Sweet’s office at (715)377-3706 or go online at www.hudson.k12.wi.us.