This month, students in the Klamath Basin have the opportunity to apply to transfer or enroll at any school within the Klamath County School District and the Klamath Falls City Schools as part of Oregon Open Enrollment for Fall 2017.

All schools within the KCSD and the KFCS have openings for new students and KCSD Superintendent Greg Thede said the benefit for students and their parents is both districts must allow students to transfer between the city and county schools.

“We’re in a position where we try to meet every parent and student need in regard to when kids go to school,” he said. “And the board and the district administration have embraced open enrollment.”

Enrollment in the county school district has increased over the last three years due to open enrollment and transfers, Thede said. On Feb. 28, 2015, 6,203 kindergarten through 12th-grade students were enrolled in the county school district. On Feb. 28, 2016, that number increased to 6,295, and on the same day in 2017, there were 6,516 enrolled.

Outlying schools

In the outlying schools, such as Bonanza Elementary School, Thede added enrollment is up by 45 students in comparison to last year.

“We have worked hard in the outlying areas to improve and add programs,” he said. “Future budgets are a priority for the board to add more electives for outlying schools.”

At the elementary level, Thede said the county school district offers a Talented and Gifted (TAG) program, licensed PE teachers, trained math and reading instruction teachers and a music program. Henley High School also offers ROTC and Future Farmers of America (FFA) programs.

“There are a lot of opportunities at Henley and Mazama for dual credit and college opportunities,” he said. “And there’s a full Career Technical Education program at Henley and Mazama.”

Student mobility

While KFCS Superintendent Paul Hillyer is “not a fan” of open enrollment and thinks mobility disrupts student achievement and is “not healthy,” he said the city school district offers various programs that benefit its students.

The district’s after school program is in its fourth year of collaborating with the 21st Century Community Learning Center to provide enrichment opportunities for students in the form of sports, art and field trips, which Hillyer said makes the district stronger.

While enrollment wavers, Hillyer said the district’s “trend” has been down the last couple years and 120 students at the secondary level either transferred or moved out of the county this year.

“The decline in the city population has impacted the school population,” he said.

The city school district also offers the Advancement Via Individual Determination program, which provides students with a hands-on, project based, interactive learning environment, and the Career Pathways program with Klamath Community College that offers more opportunities for students after college, Hillyer said.

“Parent satisfaction in our schools has been strong,” he said. “The elementary schools have been ranked by the parents at 95 percent, with most choosing As and Bs. The national average for satisfaction rate is 70 percent.”

Students and their parents have until March 31 to fill out an open enrollment application for the county or city school districts.