Enrollment in summer classes down in District 51

School District 51’s summer-school enrollment is down slightly from last year because it learned from the state too late that it could afford to serve more students.

In 2008, 2,251 students participated in summer-school classes, referred to by the district as extended learning, for kindergarten through 12th grade, and 418 students participated in two- or four-week-long courses that help high school students catch up on a particular subject before moving on to the next grade.

This year, with summer learning well under way, enrollment is about the same, with 1,839 students in the regular program and another 300 high-schoolers enrolled in the shorter program.

Budget uncertainty earlier in the year led program coordinators to make room for fewer students by going from 12 school sites last summer to nine sites this summer, according to Extended Learning Principal Cathy Haller. By the time the state confirmed District 51 would have enough funding to provide a summer program as large as the one it had last year, Haller said, “Parents had made other plans.”

“We were just a victim of planning,” Haller said.

The district has budgeted to expand the program next summer. Although Haller is excited to serve more children next year, she said ideally the district “would start to decrease our numbers because the kids didn’t need to be there.”

If there is no need for remediation, Haller said she would want to turn the summer program into an enrichment-only program.


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