A Look at Wisconsin’s Open Enrollment


District size and peer test scores appear to be factors in student-family decisions on where to attend school under Wisconsin’s open enrollment program. These are two major findings of a new report from the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WISTAX). WISTAX is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to public-policy research and citizen education.
Started in 1998-99, Wisconsin’s open enrollment program grew nearly 40% per year from 1999 through 2005. In 2004-05 the program had 18,215 participants, or about 2.1% of all state students.
While many factors can affect open enrollment decisions, WISTAX found the state’s smallest districts (excluding virtual school students) accounted for 46% of open enrollment participants but only 25% of all students. Less than 12% of open enrollment participants were from the largest districts, also representing a quarter of all students.