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Platteville sets open-enrollment limits
50 came in this year, 53 could come in next year
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The period for a student to choose, through open enrollment, one school district over the school district where the student lives began Monday.

The application deadline is April 30 at 4 p.m.

The Platteville School Board has set guidelines for the number of open-enrollment students it will let into the school district this coming school year.

The number of open-enrollment slots range from zero in third and fourth grades to 12 in sixth grade. The available slots are based on next year’s anticipated class sizes and the district’s optimum size of classes in each grade.

“What we’re saying is 25 is the optimal level — at least that level that we would desire to not go beyond,” said district superintendent Connie Valenza.

The school district gained 18 net students through open enrollment this year, with 50 students coming into the district and 32 going out of the district. Three students came in after the third-Friday September enrollment count, while four students left the district after the third-Friday count.

“We want to encourage open enrollment students to come into our district,” said Valenza, adding that with students comes more state aid. “When they come in, they tend to stay.”

The way to attract open-enrollment students is “having outstanding programs in your district,” including programs smaller school districts may not offer, said Valenza, so that “students don’t open-enroll out of your district” but “open-enroll into your district.”

Based on 24-student class sizes, the school district would let in three kindergarten students, 11 first-grade students and six second-grade students. Based on 25-student classes sizes, the school district would let in no third- or fourth-graders and one fifth-grade student. Based on 26-student class sizes, the school district would let in 12 sixth-grade students. Based on 27-student class sizes, the school district would let in 10 seventh-grade and 10 eighth-grade students.

Those numbers mean the school district could let in as many as 53 open-enrollment students, three more than came in this school year.

Enrollment beyond those numbers would require the addition of another section, and Valenza said the increase in state aid wouldn’t cover the cost of an additional teacher.

The limits are “not optimal, but are reasonable class sizes,” said Valenza.

The guidelines are only for the 2013–14 school year. “You reestablish your open enrollment limitations on an annual basis,” said Valenza.

State law provides exceptions to the open-enrollment application period for students who were the victim of a violent crime or bullying or harassment, homeless in one of the previous two school years, or moved because of going into or out of a foster home, or who are moving into the state or are the children of parents who are moving because of military orders.

“A student moves into your district, and you don’t have any exception — you have to serve them,” said Valenza.