Janesville school district enrollment hits 15-year low

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JANESVILLE - The Janesville School District's overall enrollment has dropped again, but the number of students enrolling from other districts has increased.

The district released Monday its annual enrollment count it conducts on the third Friday in September. Total enrollment in early-childhood programs through 12th grade is 9,889, down 172 students from last year, according to a news release from the district.

That's the lowest enrollment in at least 15 years-and it's lower than January's count, when the district dropped below the 10,000-student mark.

Other schools in Rock County reported enrollment increases. Beloit Turner School District enrollment was reported to be 1,585 in 2019-20, up from 1,563 in 2018-19; Rock County Christian School reported enrollment of 265 in 2019-20, up from 227 in 2018-19; Clinton School District reported enrollment of 1,141 in 2019-20, up from 1,122 in 2018-19. The School District of Beloit has not released enrollment numbers as of yet.

The decreased numbers in Janesville reflect statewide demographic trends, which show enrollment is down, according to the state Department of Public Instruction.

Open enrollment allows students to attend schools outside their own district.

As of the third Friday count, 598 students had open enrolled into the Janesville district, and 397 open enrolled out, for a net of 201 students, according to the release.

Rock University High School, a district-run charter school, enrolled 48 more students than it did last year. This is the first year the school has had a freshman class, and many of those students open enrolled into the district.

The Department of Public Instruction requires school districts to count students on the third Friday in September and the second Friday in January. The numbers are used to calculate districts' revenue limits and the amount of state aid they receive.

The numbers matter.

The state's funding formula is complicated and relies on many factors, but each student brings in an estimated $7,000 in state aid.

Enrollment also drives staffing. District officials had anticipated that enrollment would decline. As a result, the district has five fewer teachers this year, said Patrick Gasper, the district's public information officer.

Retirements and reassignments for current teachers meant that no teachers were laid off.

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