Wisconsin's Rural Schools Troubled by Declining Enrollments

ANGELA PASCOPELLA's picture
Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Empty desks far outnumber students inside Krystal Martinson's 11th-grade advanced English class at Eleva-Strum High School.

This is not a unique scene for many rural schools in west-central Wisconsin. At least nine districts in the region have lost more than 10 percent of their student population during the past decade, with some losing 25 percent or more.

While declining enrollments, which mean decreased state-aid payments, have long threatened many of Wisconsin's rural school districts with closure or consolidation, school officials in several area districts say lower student numbers have created another problem -- the loss of high school elective and Advanced Placement courses.

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