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Student enrollment at Wisconsin public schools declines again

Wisconsin student
Posted at 5:17 PM, Oct 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-15 18:44:19-04

MILWAUKEE — The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) released fall student count information on Friday. These numbers come from the head count that happens every year on the third Thursday in September at all districts across the state.

Numbers from this year's count show a decrease in enrollment across the state by 4,311 students. However, that number is better than the year before when numbers were dramatically down, dropping 25,742 students during the first pandemic year.

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But DPI said the decrease in enrollment has been a trend in years even before the pandemic began.

"Which really is driven largely by demographics. As the largest classes that came in the 90s and 2000s graduate out, people are having fewer children, and Wisconsin has not benefited as much from migration as other states," said Dan Bush with DPI.

But the numbers do have a direct impact on school districts. Enrollment numbers from the last three years are averaged out and determine how much general aid a district receives from the state. Nothing will change in the budget immediately for school districts, but they will see changes dependent on enrollment affecting next year's budget.

"This is the largest pot of state aid distributed to public schools in Wisconsin, and is combined with local property taxes to make up each school district's revenue limit," Bush said.

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