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Open enrollment activity keeps increasing in area

Area school districts are busier than ever when it comes to the state's open enrollment program.

School officials now know the number of students from elsewhere who've applied to enter their districts for the 2007-08 term starting this fall. Some also have an idea of how many plan to leave, though those numbers aren't yet finalized. The numbers reflect requests at this point and changes are possible between now and this fall.

The statewide application period was from Feb. 5 to 23. School boards typically act on the applications at their meetings this month. The activity affects funding received from the state, among other factors.

Late last week, information from area districts indicated an overall rise in open enrollment compared to previous years. The following applications were reported:

--Ellsworth, a total of 18 students transferring in, including five from Prescott, five from River Falls, two from Hudson, two from Plum City and one from Spring Valley. This compares with six applications to enter this past fall last year at this time.

A total of 50 students transferring out, including 25 to River Falls, 15 to Plum City, four to North Ozaukee, three to Prescott, two to Spring Valley and one to Waukesha. This compares with 20 students intending to transfer out last year at this time.

--Elmwood, a total of 14 students transferring in, including seven from Spring Valley, five from Menomonie and two from Durand. This compares with nine applications to enter this past fall last year at this time. A total of nine students planning to transfer out for the coming fall, including six to Spring Valley, two to Menomonie and one to Plum City. Twelve intended to transfer out last year at this time.

--Plum City, a total of 28 students transferring in (10 currently enrolled), including 11 from Durand, eight from Pepin, seven from Ellsworth and one each from Spring Valley and Elmwood. This compares with nine applications to enter this past fall last year at this time. One student (currently enrolled) intends to transfer out this coming fall, as compared to nine with such plans a year ago at this time.

--Spring Valley, a total of 15 students transferring in, from six area districts including Baldwin-Woodville, Ellsworth, Elmwood, Menomonie, New Richmond and River Falls. This compares with 23 applications to enter this past fall last year at this time. The number of transfers out hadn't been fully determined as of late last week.

In Wisconsin, children are assigned to school districts based on the location of their parents' home. Last month's three-week application period for open enrollment is the only tuition-free opportunity for most parents to apply for their children to attend public school in a school district other than the one in which they live.

Since the 1998-99 school year, participation in the open enrollment program statewide grew from 2,464 students transferring to another school district in the first year to 21,025 during the 2005-06 school year.

Parents are to be informed by Friday, April 6, whether their open enrollment applications for this fall have been approved or denied. Although parents were able to request enrollment in a specific school or program in nonresident districts, enrollment in the requested school or program is subject to space and other limitations, and isn't guaranteed.