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Hudson school enrollment drops; kindergarten class the smallest

According to the official student count taken last month, the Hudson School District has 5,512 resident students enrolled for the 2013-14 school year. That represents a decrease of 33 students over last year’s enrollment of 5,545.

That number does not include an additional 26 students attending Hudson schools through open enrollment and six Hudson students were received services outside of the district. Open enrollment students out of the district numbered 81 which the superintendent noted results in a loss of $130,000 for the district.

That is the largest number ever of students opting out of the district with 57 students leaving at the secondary level. Superintendent Mary Bowen-Eggebraaten said a significant number of those students have enrolled in virtual schools. Others are attending classes in Somerset, River Falls and at St. Croix Central. The superintendent said the increased number of secondary students opting out of the district may be related to the crowded conditions at both the Hudson Middle School and Hudson High School.

The count is taken on the third Friday of September according to Department of Public Instruction guidelines. The number is used to determine state aid to the district on a per student basis.

By grade level, the incoming kindergarten class is the smallest at 352. The district’s largest class is the HHS freshman at 476. In a graphic presented to the school board, the enrollment numbers for last year and this year were presented by grade level to illustrate how class enrollment grew or declined from year to year.

Last year the kindergarten class was 391. As first-graders this year, that class has 19 more students and sits at 410. Last year’s sixth-grade class fell from 436 to 423 this year. The largest class decrease involved last year’s tenth grade at 403 which dropped to 376 this year.

The superintendent noted that the low kindergarten numbers were anticipated due to a drop in birth rates in the area, likely associated with the economic downturn. She said analysts do not believe that trend will continue and that enrollment in Hudson will likely continue to increase.

Meg Heaton

Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

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