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Closer look at fall enrollment shows decrease in public schools, increase in charter schools

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WISCONSIN (WKOW) -- A recent study completed by Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty shows school districts across the state saw a dramatic decline in fall enrollment as educators navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fall enrollment numbers collected in October shows districts saw an average of 2.67% decline in enrollment. For districts that started the school year virtually exclusively, saw an even larger decrease of 3%.

Last year enrollment was down .3%. So where did they go? The 44 school districts in Wisconsin with virtual charters saw an increase of approximately 4.5% in enrollment on average relative to other districts.

Enrollment in Wisconsin’s parental choice programs increased by more than 2,700 in a year where public schools saw declines of nearly
36,000.

"There are families who want to see their kids fully enrolled in schools that are open on a daily basis but we also see districts where we've heard of a lot of parental complaints that the schools are not teaching new material, they don't really have the resources to educate the kids in this online format," said Will Flanders, Research Director for WILL.

The study shows that districts with established virtual charter schools saw increases in enrollment for this fall.

Matthew Cash

Senior Executive Producer

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