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WINONA — Winona Area Public Schools is in the process of increasing the number of sections of kindergarten at its three elementary schools after preliminary enrollment figures show the district will have a larger incoming class than expected.

As of Aug. 8, 209 students were registered for kindergarten — an increase of 43 students from this time last year and 41 more students than were expected in student counts used for the 2020 revenue projections.

Overall, preliminary enrollment figures indicate 102 students more than expected, though those numbers can fluctuate.

The numbers were presented to the school board at Thursday night’s meeting.

“Our enrollment numbers at this time are very preliminary because they won’t include any students who have moved or left the district,” WAPS Superintendent Dr. Annette Freiheit said. “We will continue to monitor the enrollment, and after Oct. 1, it is generally considered stable and indicative the enrollment for the school year.”

Preliminary enrollment numbers have 97 kindergarteners — including 25 in the Rios Spanish Immersion Program — at Jefferson, 59 at Washington-Kosciusko and 53 at Goodview.

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At the beginning of the 2018-19 school year, there were 72 kindergarteners at Jefferson, 66 at Washington-Kosciusko and 38 at Goodview. In October, those numbers were 70, 68 and 37, respectively.

“We are in the process of increasing the number of sections of kindergarten at all three elementary schools,” Freheit said.

Freiheit also said the district will continue to monitor enrollment figures to determine whether there will be a need to use a “hot spot,” a position approved by the school board during the 2020 budgeting process that set aside an unassigned position in each building that an administrator could use to fill a staffing need.

Although kindergarten enrollment is up and total student enrollment (2,729) is exceeding budgeted projections, the numbers are down in a historical context.

Ten years ago, the district had 3,332 students overall and 241 in kindergarten. Twenty-five years ago, the district had 4,723 students overall and 332 in kindergarten.

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