Paris School fills open enrollment slots

In December, when the Paris School Board set its by grade limits for open enrollment there was room for as many as 53 students. The trick would be to get them.

Enter the Paris YES Committee. Under the leadership of Beth LaBell, the group launched a multi-faceted campaign to let the surrounding community — and especially those seeking another school for their children — know about all the positive aspects of Paris, from high academic achievement to Panther Pride. The group distributed buttons, brochures, created a specialized website and advertised in various media outlets (including

The end result was made official Thursday when the School Board accepted 49 open enrollment students and had to put 17 more on a waiting list because their grade levels were already full. Another eight open enrollments were denied due to students’ special education needs.

In all, the district received 74 applications for open enrollment this year.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Roger Gahart, district administrator, said of this year’s open enrollment process.

Gahart conducted over 30 tours of the building, he said. And once people saw the school in action, most were sold.

“The Paris kids hold the door and say hello to people,” Gahart said.

In Wisconsin, open enrollment is a process by which students from one public school district can attend another. The district receiving the students does not have to accept all the students who apply.

Attracting additional students through open enrollment is generally seen as good because more students bring more state aid. A student currently brings about $6,200 in state aid to a district.

For school officials in Paris, driving open enrollment has been seen as one way to help the school’s financial difficulties. The district had to pass a referendum last year to avoid dissolving due to projected insolvency.

The largest single group of incoming open enrollees was for kindergarten, where the board accepted 18 applicants, though the school was only six students short of its one class limit of 20. If all of those students end up coming to Paris, it may require adding a section, Gahart said. For third grade, only three students could be accepted and 10 were put on a waiting list.


One Comment

  1. Mylie says:

    I have gone to paris when i was younger i love all the teachers and students and always the princeipal Mr. Gaheart is always fun!

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