2/1/2013 2:10:00 PM District weighs options on open enrollment
By David Richards
The Byron school board has unanimously voted to move kindergarten classes to the Community Education Center for the 2013-2014 school year while the district seeks a long term solution on accommodating growth district wide.
The move was made at the board's Jan. 22 meeting. The Community Education Center is located at 630 First Avenue in northwest Byron.
Resident enrollment has increased by 5.8 percent in Byron Public Schools over the past decade and is projected to increase another 16.7 to 20.3 percent in the next 10 years.
"None of us really foresees the future, but all we can do is look at the indicators around us," said Hazel Reinhardt, the independent demographer hired to project the district's potential growth, in December.
Reinhardt, according to superintendent Jeff Elstad, conducts 90 percent of the enrollment projects done in school districts across both Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Roughly 10 years ago, Reinhardt conducted a similar study in Byron and projected the district's growth with near pristine accuracy.
On Feb. 7, the board will hold a special work session to review its current open enrollment policy and to lay out a specific timeline for the kindergarten transition and discuss possible remodeling of classrooms.
The district has accepted 60 students, including 42 for kindergarten, for open enrollment for the 2013-2014 school year, with 30 students on the waiting list, more than half being incoming kindergarten students.
The district's net open enrollment percentage has remained at 17 percent for the past two years.
In December, board member Chris Douglas said eventually there's going to be a point where the open enrollment percentage becomes too high.
"We know open enrollment helps us, but I honestly believe there's a tipping point somewhere," he said. "I don't know where it is."
"We're probably near the tipping point right now," board chair Matt Prigge said.