WSLS, ISES, and Membership

What is the relationship between the WSLS/ISES enrollment count and the PI 1563 membership count?

Both WSLS/ISES and PI 1563 are used to produce counts of students. Both include data about students served within school buildings, outside of school buildings, by district employees, and by third parties. Differences in the purposes of these two collections affect which students count for which districts and whether or how much each student counts. WSLS/ISES student counts are primarily used to meet federally-mandated accountability requirements. PI 1563 membership counts are used as a basis for state aid payments under state law. State aid payments and accountability for student outcomes do not always go hand in hand.

Generally state law provides that districts receive state aid for students who reside in their district and who attend district schools or for whom the district pays full-time tuition. These districts may have little or no control over services affecting the academic progress of certain students for whom state law requires that they pay tuition. Some examples include open enrollment (118.51), tuition waiver (121.84), integration transfer (ch. 220), and certain youth challenge academy (Department of Military Affairs) placements. Districts have only limited control over educational services provided to nontuition private school students who attend district schools while taking only a course or two (118.145). These part-time private school students are counted for state aid purposes on a prorated basis to cover costs.

A district is accountable for a student's progress only if the district directly provides, or oversees the provision of, the primary educational services for the student. WSLS/ISES data for a student are generally (but not always) district of residence. In relatively rare situations a district oversees the provision of the primary educational services by another district (e.g. IEP placements); in these situations the latter district submits the WSLS/ISES data but the former district may be accountable. The ISES data collection includes fields so adjustments for public accountability reporting purposes can be made after ISES data are submitted as appropriate.

Total statewide counts under WSLS/ISES and membership will not match. Certain students are outside the age range for state aid eligibility so don't count for membership. Enrollments in part-day or part-week kindergarten programs or in a high school course or two are prorated for membership purposes and some pre-kindergarten students don't count in membership at all. All students who have not reached the maximum age of entitlement to a free public education count in ISES if they receive their primary PK-12 educational services either directly from a district or through a third party agreement/contract. This is true for ISES regardless of the number of hours the educational program operates. So many of the students enrolled in part-day or part-week pre-kindergarten/kindergarten programs would count in the ISES headcount (not prorated) and many of the students taking only a high school course or two would not count in WSLS/ISES at all.

Will WSLS/ISES and membership collections be consolidated?

Full consolidation will be a challenge without changes in laws. Lack of alignment between educational and financial responsibilities complicate efforts to consolidate. But the major barrier to WSLS/ISES and PI 1563 membership consolidation appears to be the need for membership data in early October in order to make state aid payments.

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