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De Pere sees enrollment increase

David Youngquist, De Pere school board president, goes over the proposed budget at the Monday, Aug. 20 meeting. Murray Gleffe Photo

By Murray Gleffe

DE PERE – David Youngquist, school board president, outlined the enrollment increase of roughly 71 new students during the district’s annual meeting, Monday, Aug. 20.

The students would be a combination of open enrollment and resident students for the upcoming school year.

“A majority of that increase is in the fifth and nine grades,” said Youngquist. “When schools become too big, the board meets and discusses what can be done.”

The De Pere School District is comprised of Susie C. Altmayer, Dickinson, and Heritage elementary schools, Fox View Intermediate School, De Pere Middle School and De Pere High School.

The number of open-enrolled students for 2018-19 is not finalized, but because of the anticipated increase, along with resident students, and a staffing reconfiguration at Syble Hopp School, Youngquist said staffing will need to be increased by a full-time equivalent 11.25 over the previous year.

An additional fifth-grade section will be added in the De Pere school district to alleviate the average class size down to around 25.

The plan is to add a fifth-grade class of around 16 students to a classroom with the same curriculum for the 2018-19 school year.

“The district will be working closely with the town of Ledgeview in order to develop a methodology to keep track of new home sales and to also identify who will be living in these homes,” said Benjamin Villarruel, De Pere superintendent. “This will allow the district to factor the new students into its enrollment projections and their planning to assure that schools and classrooms do not become overcrowded.”

Ledgeview has more than doubled in population in less than 20 years and has 11 subdivisions currently under construction.

In addition, the projected general fund budget is growing by $1.193 million to just under $46 million, or a 2.67 percent increase from 2017-18.

“It is positive when you see growth within a district,” said Dawn Foeller, director of business services. “You have to plan a lot more for the future, but it is great to see De Pere growing because a lot of other districts are seeing the reverse trend.”

A transfer of service of $228,928 was also added to the levy to cover the cost of Syble Hopp staffing and additional occupational and physical therapy aid.

The breakfast program will be also be running again within the district for the upcoming school year.

“Last year was our first year running the morning breakfast to students,” said Deb Pockl, food service director. “A few of our parents still don’t know that it exists, but we are doing a better job advertising the program in our second year before school starts.”

District summer projects included installing new LED lightning into the high school, repaving parking lots, and putting up new fencing posts to hide waste management dumpsters from viewpoints at Fox View and De Pere High School per ordinance laws.

“We have gone with contract laborers for summer district project work,” said Villarruel. “It’s been a timing thing so far to not bring an electrician on board.”

In others news, an increase of 8.48 percent of health insurance was approved, but neither dental or Wisconsin Retirement System was allotted.

Finally, the police liaison contract with the City of De Pere was approved.

The next board meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 17 at De Pere High School.

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