The total number of students enrolled in the Milton School District is 3,544, or 47 fewer students than the prior school year. That’s according to the third Friday in September enrollment reported to the Department of Public Instruction for funding purposes.

The number of students open enrolling out of the Milton School District is 399, or 21 more than the year prior. The number of students open enrolling into the Milton School District is 272, or 10 more than the year prior.

Interim Superintendent Rich Dahman said a large percent of the students open enrolling out of the district attend Janesville schools.

Conversely, he said a large percent of those enrolling into the district are from Janesville.

Why families choose to have their students attend a school district that’s different than the one in which they live differs from family to family, Dahman said.

“Oftentimes though it falls under a category of proximity or programming,” he said.

From a programming perspective, he said one district might offer an academic class or activity that another does not.

Both last year and this year, the grade level that has highest number of students enrolling out is 4K. In 2018-19, 50 4K students went to other school districts. This year that number is 48.

Dahman noted districts can vary in what they offer for 4K, they might offer half or full day, or start at different times. Proximity can especially be important for 4K, he said, noting parents may prefer a school close to daycare or their work.

He said: “It’s encouraging to see that while last year, we had 50 4K students open enroll out, this year’s kindergarten class, which would be those same students one year later, we have 23 open enrolling out. Many of those who left for 4K are back for kindergarten.”

Overall enrollment is down both in the third Friday in September count reported to DPI and number of students in buildings, which is 3,417, or 62 fewer than in 2018.

Milton High School graduated a class of 273 seniors in 2019. Graduating a senior class always also has an effect on enrollment the following year, Dahman said.

“One of the things that we want to do is make sure that we’re alert to why families choose to come to our school district,” he said. “I think oftentimes we do have families move to our district because we have a great reputation as a strong school district.”

If families are leaving the school district, he said “we want to make sure we’re alert to the things they think we could do better. We always want to make sure that we’re examining our programming.”

The JEDI Virtual School is going to be a valuable program to retain students looking for online learning, he said.

“We’re exploring that a little bit this year and looking at the potential of even expanding that further down the road if it goes well,” he said.

Adams Publishing Group reported previously Janesville School District total enrollment in early childhood programs through 12th grade is 9,889, down 172 students from last year. That’s the lowest enrollment in 12 years. The numbers reflect statewide demographic trends, which show enrollment is down, according to DPI.

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