Area school districts are getting their first look at this year’s student enrollment numbers.
The first count of the school year is taken on the third Friday of September.
The third Friday fell last week, on Sept. 16, and districts have preliminary enrollment numbers for the 2011-12 school year.
Some are still figuring out summer school and pre-K totals; official enrollment numbers have to be in to the state by the end of October.
In the Waupaca School District, the preliminary count for the 2011-12 school year is 2,221 students. That breaks down to 776 students at the high school, 523 students in the middle school and 922 students at the elementary level.
Those numbers compare to last January’s count of 2,241 students in the district, with 779 at the high school, 520 at the middle school and 942 at the elementary level.
District Administrator David Poeschl notes that the trend of high enrollment senior classes being replaced by lower enrollment kindergarten classes continues.
For example, last year’s senior class was made up of 212 students, while this year’s kindergarten class has 143 students in it.
This year at Waupaca High School, preliminary numbers show 179 freshmen, 204 sophomores, 174 juniors and 219 seniors.
At the elementary level, the largest class is fourth grade with 184 students. The elementary numbers do not yet include pre-kindergarten enrollments and, thus far, range from 140 students in first grade to those 184 fourth graders.
Middle school numbers are consistent.
Poeschl says the trend of smaller kindergarten classes replacing larger senior calsses has been going on in the district for eight to nine years and accounts for the district’s overall drop in enrollment over time.
He said that because this is an ongoing trend, the district was prepared for these numbers as it entered the 2011-12 school year, meaning there are no surprises in the preliminary numbers.
In the Weyauwega-Fremont School District, the preliminary count for the 2011-12 school year is 878 students – 310 at the high school, 171 at the middle school and 397 at the elementary level.
Last January’s student count showed a total of 920 students, with 338 at the high school, 184 at the middle school and 398 at the elementary level.
District Administrator Scott Bleck said those numbers fluctuate throughout the school year and noted that the senior class that graduated last June was considerably larger than what the district sees for a class size.
A total of 105 students were in that senior class. Bleck said that typically the size of classes in the district is in the mid 80s.
That class was replaced by a kindergarten class that, preliminary, is at 50.
This year at W-F High School, class size includes 62 freshmen, 89 sophomores, 86 juniors and 73 seniors.
The district administrator is pleased to see that the elementary numbers are consistent and said, “As we work through the next six years, we will still see a slightly declining number, overall, in the district.”
Smaller families is part of today’s trend, Bleck said.
“The district is still focused on improving enrollment through the marketing of our district, showcasing what we can offer to individuals seeking to live in this part of the state,” he said.
The reduction in funding to public education means districts have to be as resourceful as they can and that there is probably more competition than ever, Bleck said.
In the Iola-Scandinavia School District, the preliminary count for the 2011-12 school year is 741 students, with 250 at the high school, 119 in seventh and eighth grades and 372 at the elementary level. The elementary number includes 4-year-old kindergarten.
Last January, the student count was 743 in the district.
District Administrator Joe Price said this year’s preliminary enrollment number surprised him.
“We had a surprising number of people moving into the district this fall,” he said. “That counts for about 10 new students.” Like its neighboring school districts, I-S, too, sees smaller kindergarten classes replacing graduating senior classes.
This year’s senior class at I-S High School totals 68, while this year’s kindergarten class totals 40 students, preliminary numbers show.
“When you look at the high school, classes range from 68 to 57,” he said.
Price said at the elementary level (kindergarten through sixth grade), class size ranges from a high of 53 to a low of 40.
“A big part of the population is the upper grades,” he said.
In the I-S district, the typical graduating class was in the 60s, is beginning to drop into the 50s and will then be in the 40s, he said.
“It’s a matter of demography,” Price said. “About 70 percent (of districts) in the state have a declining enrollment.”