*** Updated 12/6/19 – There are now 4 maps and 4 data tables reflecting district enrollment at the elementary school attendance committee webpage. ***
The District has shared preliminary maps at their elementary school attendance committee webpage. The committee agenda and minutes describe these maps as possibilities, not recommendations. The next meeting is now Wednesday, December 18th from 6:00 – 8:30 PM at Evergreen Elementary. This is a change from the original date, so please check your calendars.
One of the goals of the attendance committee is to have enrollment at the three elementary schools to be more equal. The goal has been quantified at approximately 300 students per building. With approximately 450 students at Woodfield alone, that would require a shift of as many as 150 students. Because this year’s 5th graders will be moving to the middle school for 6th grade, that reduces Woodfield enrollment by 75 students even if no attendance boundary changes are made. Similarly, Evergreen would also lose between 50 and 75 students next year for the same reason. Both schools would then have enrollments that would aproach a 10 year low. However, new homes are going up monthly and appear to be most popular in the Woodfield attendance area.
To further reduce enrollment the district is looking at redistricting. Two maps have been released to the committee and can be found at the elementary school attendance committee webpage. I have grabbed screenshots that zoom to the affected areas, as much as that is possible.
Option A shifts approximately 75 students out of the Woodfield attendance area and sends them to Trailside. The students would be the Village of Rochester students that are east of the river, but not those that are both close to Hwy D and west of Hwy 36.
Option B shifts an estimated 30 students from the far west of the Evergreen attendance area (west of Hwy 83) to Woodfield and then an estimated 90 students from the Woodfield attendance area to Trailside. These students would be the Village of Rochester students that are east of the river.
Open Enrollment The idea of moving some or all open enrollment students to Trailside is a possibility, according to the Q&A response from the October 17 meeting. Open enrollment students do not reside in the WGSD attendance area, but have been permitted to attend based on past availability per grade level and building. Based on information shared with the committee there are approximately 74 students that reside outside the WGSD district that currently attend Woodfield and Evergreen in grades 4K, 5K, 1, 2, 3 , 4, and 5.
While these open enrollment families do not pay property taxes directly to WGSD, the state shifts some of their home district’s state aid to WGSD. The amount of money transferred is approximately half of the amount of money the district would have received if these families were WGSD residents. In recent years these 74 open enrollment students alone amount to approximately $500,000 in surplus revenue for the District with little increased cost as, at least theoretically, no additional staff have been hired. On the other hand, if these families would all move into the WGSD area the district would receive another $500,000 in state aid with no additional costs except possibly some increased bussing. So while open enrollment is usually good for a district, having students actually reside in the WGSD district is twice as good. Both reduce the local property taxes considerably.
If you have made it this far in the article, you are probably quite interested in this topic. Please be respectful of our WGSD administration, teachers, and committee volunteers. Redistricting is always a very difficult issue as it is not possible to meet everyone’s request or expectation. While I hope you will share your appreciation with the district for their transparency, please take the information shared here for what it is, possible options.
Posted by Matt Kranich on 12/4/2019
Creation of the School Attendane Committee and Goals
October 17th Q&A
Oct 17 and Nov 14 Agenda and Minutes and Original Maps
Questions for WGSD should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org