ASHWAUBENON - Parents, if you're thinking of sending your child to a different school district, the time to act is now. Open enrollment started Monday.
It allows students to transfer between public schools in Wisconsin without fees. That's as long as the school has room.
While open enrollment is a useful tool for some parents and school districts, it can also be a problem for others.
Ashwaubenon Public Schools say keeping neighborhood schools open and programs fully staffed are a priority. The district says open enrollment helps it meet its goal.
"In Ashwaubenon, we've seen declining resident enrollment, so we've been able to fill the empty seats with open enrollment students from other districts," said assistant superintendent Keith Lucious.
This year 800 students open enrolled to Ashwaubenon.
That's 25 percent of all students.
Many of those students live within Green Bay's boundaries.
The Green Bay Area Public School District says it's putting forth new programs to retain more students. However, district officials claim open enrollment doesn't affect their district as adversely because it's so big. More than 20,000 students go there.
"We're lucky because our school district enrollment is usually stable or growing. But we do have 1,000 students who do open enroll out and we do have 154 who enroll in," said Amanda Brooker, a district spokesperson.
Some school districts have even taken out ads in local papers promoting open enrollment. They say it doesn't just benefit students and families. It can benefit the school district employees as well.
"We have a great staff and we always want to not lay staff off. It helps us attract new staff members when we do have openings because they don't have the fear of being laid off the following year," said Lucious.
School districts say the reasons parents choose to send their children to a different school vary as much as the students themselves.
"I think we're lucky because all the schools in the area are very good," said Brooker.
"I don't think someone's leaving a district because of a poor performing district. I think everyone has a different desire for what they want in their child's education," said Lucious.
Open enrollment runs through April 30.
School districts say the easiest way for parents to apply for open enrollment is online.
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