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Brown Deer eliminates Open Enrollment wait list

Dec. 18, 2012

Brown Deer - The Brown Deer School District's waiting list for Open Enrollment students has been getting longer and longer and students are rarely accepted.

On Tuesday, the School Board voted, 4-3, to eliminate it from the Open Enrollment policy altogether.

The district has been sending out more and more letters to parents every year denying their children entrance into Brown Deer schools. Last year, approximately 700 students applied for the 17 seats the district set aside for Open Enrollment, executive assistant Kim Chizek said. The list has grown since the state expanded the time frame students have to apply for a seat in a new district. Brown Deer's list used to have between 300 to 400 names.

The board will discuss and vote on the number of Open Enrollment seats offered for the 2013-14 school year in January once the second Friday enrollment count is complete.

Every year the board reviews the Open Enrollment policy and can reinstate the wait list next year. Historically, the district has not been able to accept any students off the wait list; therefore, administrators recommended eliminating it from district policy. Thus, it eliminates hours of work for administration, who have to randomly number students by hand and send a letter out to each parent, saying their child is not accepted.

Chizek said during the Open Enrollment period, they also take about 30 calls a day from inquiring parents.

Board President Gary Williams was concerned that the district will lose money if the 2013-14 enrollment projection overestimated the number of students attending school. Empty seats are filled by students on the wait list.

Since the policy is reviewed every year, board member Michelle Schofield said she would be fine with eliminating the wait list this year as it can be voted back next year.

School Board member Michael Bembenek, who voted against removing the wait list, argued that "given how tight our budget is," the policy should remain the same.

The Open Enrollment policy still has to go through two readings at the board level.

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