Trevor-Wilmot increases open enrollment class size limits

The Trevor-Wilmot School Board has made a little more room for open enrollment students than it has allowed in recent years.

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Open enrollment is a process by which a student who resides in one public school district can apply to attend another public school district. If allowed to leave by the resident district and accepted by the other district, a student can attend the new school without paying tuition, but they must provide their own transportation to the district.

School districts typically set maximum class sizes before the open enrollment period begins so they it’s clear they are not reacting to the individuals who might actually apply, George Steffen, district administrator said.

“In recent years our enrollment has been kind of stagnant,” Steffen said. Student population is a key factor used to determine the amount of state aid a district receives.

Trevor-Wilmot had been using maximums of no more than 14 students per class in kindergarten through third grade, no more than 18 students in fourth and fifth and no more than 20 in sixth, seventh and eighth grade classes.

The new limits approved Tuesday by the board will be:

  • Kindergarten through third grade 14 students per classroom.
  • Fourth through eighth grade 25 students per classroom.

Administrators and most school board members approved of the change, saying it will increase the number of students that could be accepted under open enrollment and not adversely effect the quality of education.

“It seems like the difference between 18 and 25 students in a classroom is not that much,’ said board member Cole Marshall, who is a teacher in Kenosha.

But board member Bill Barhyte opposed the new maximums, arguing they did not leave sufficient room for possible influxes of resident students after open enrollment students were already accepted. Then the district would have to choose between having classes with a count over the optimum or hiring  teachers to create more classrooms.

“I’m just afraid that we’re going to get a great influx …,” Barhyte said.

Barhyte was the only vote against the new maximums.


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