Open enrollment becoming more popular in Chippewa Valley

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Hundreds of parents across Wisconsin are choosing to send their kids to other districts. February 4th kicks off the three-month long public schools open enrollment process.

Wisconsin students in grades 4k -12 may apply to attend school in a district other than the one in which they live. The main reason behind the decade old process is to cater to specific educational needs of each family in the state.

Lyra Kaminski from Elk Mound, is a mother of four and is no stranger to open enrollment. Kaminski says the flexibility to move districts and choose whatever is best for her children, is what most parents want.

"What I'm most thankful for living in this community is the verity of opportunity. In the past I have open-enrolled my child and it was helpful because it catered to the needs of our family. You can make a decision based on what's best for your family, and utilizing open enrollment helps in those situations,” said Kaminski.

A family can choose up to three different districts to openly enroll their child. Parents must provide transportation.

"In order to access open enrollment the family needs some sort of economic means, family support, because the family needs to move from outside the district into the district,” said the Assistant Superintendent with the Eau Claire School District, Tim Leibham.

And no matter which school fits the child best, parents should remember this.
"You have to formally apply to enter another district-nonresident district, and you have to formally request to leave the district,” said Leibham.

Because as your child moves districts, so does the state aid.

"There is a certain amount of state aid that will follow that child to a neighboring or nonresident district,” said Leibham.

" I just can't encourage parents enough to look at the direction they want their children to go. And to base their educational needs not on where they're living but what their child needs, and that's how they can take advantage of open enrollment,” said Kaminski.

Open enrollment is becoming more popular. In 1998, the Eau Claire School District received 26 applications for open enrollment, and in 2012 the number of applicants was 207. If you would like to open-enroll your child visit to access the 2013-2014 school year application.

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