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School space shortage limits open enrollment

With Hudson High School and Hudson Middle School both over capacity, no request for open enrollment into either school will be considered for the 2014-15 school year.

Open enrollment between school districts is allowed by statute in the State of Wisconsin. Schools must consider requests of students to move into and out of their districts depending on the space available.

In a report at last week’s Board of Education meeting, district Human Resources Director Andrea Volkert made the recommendation not to accept any secondary school open enrollments based on the projected enrollment including incoming students which are projected to be 1,768 at HHS and 1,326 at HMS. The building capacity at HHS is 1,680 with common areas that support even fewer students. The capacity of HMS is 1,125 and the school is currently using four classrooms and the gym at the adjacent Hudson Prairie Elementary School.

The special education programs across the district are closed to open enrollment based on current enrollment.

There is some room available at the elementary level in specific buildings and grade levels. They are:

--10 seats for kindergarten;

--8 seats for first grade;

--47 seats for third grade; and

--10 seats for fourth grade.

Second- and fifth-grade classes are closed across the district.

As of equal concern to board member Bruce Hanson is the number of students who opted out of attending Hudson schools, particularly Hudson secondary schools. This year 81 students left the district to attend in nearby districts like River Falls and New Richmond as well as in other districts and online. That compares to 48 the year before.

Hanson said the large number of students opting to leave Hudson secondary schools speaks to the urgent need for the district to do something about secondary space. When students leave the school district through open enrollment, their state education funding goes with them and is subtracted from the funds received from the state to the Hudson School District.

Open enrollment runs Feb. 8-April 30. For more information, contact Volkert’s office at (715)377-3706 or the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction at (888)245-2732 or email

Service recognized

Two longtime participants in the business of the Hudson School District were recognized at the Jan. 14 meeting.

Hudson attorney Dan Tjornehoj will have been a member of the Hudson Board of Education for 21 years when he steps down in April. He has served as board president, treasurer and clerk and on most board committees over the past two decades. He was first elected in 1993.

Diane Radle is administrative assistant to Superintendent Mary Bowen-Eggebraaten and has served at the side of several of the district’s previous leaders since she joined the district in 1986. She also served as an assistant to Director of Personnel Bob Benoy.

Bowen-Eggebraaten complimented Radle on her work ethic and said, “Diane works tirelessly at her job and anticipates what needs to be done. The board could not accomplish what it does without her. We wish her the very best.”

Board president Tom Holland called Radle an “unsung hero.” “Diane has given the district 28 years of high level performance. She has served with dedication, thoroughness and commitment, always providing support for a large organization like this one…We can never tell you enough how much you are appreciated.”

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.

(715) 808-8604