Liberty School District experiences increase in student enrollment
Superintendent notes suspension, expulsion statistics are down
By Samantha Phillips
The Liberty School District’s student enrollment from kindergarten through 12th grade increased by 246 students from the 2017-2018 school year to this school year.
Superintendent Joseph Nohra attributed the increase in part to a large amount of students returning to the district after leaving via open enrollment.
Out of the 246 additional students, 217 are open enrolled. The number of open-enrolled students increased by 92 students from the 2017-2018 school year to the 2018-2019 school year.
Since the start of the 2017 school year, Liberty has added new classes and extracurricular activities, including a robotics class and other science, technology, engineering, arts and math programs.
The district also added new honors courses, started the Career Based Intervention program and established the Cyber Leopard Academy, an online school option.
The board approved a resolution this month to open enrollment to students in adjacent and nonadjacent districts.
Last year, the district’s enrollment policy reserved the right to not consent to the future open enrollment of Liberty’s native students in adjacent or other districts in order to maintain an appropriate racial balance.
The district struggled with increasing enrollment for a long time. For example, from the 2015-2016 to the 2016-2017 school year, the enrollment lost 67 students.
Beginning in the 2017-2018 school year, however, the student population started increasing.
Along with a bigger population, the school board discussed improved student behavior and attendance.
“Discipline occurrences are way down and attendance is way up. We hope that will spell out academic success. Our suspension and expulsion statistics are down,” Nohra said. “When students are behaving, listening and engaged, we know kids will perform better in the classroom.”