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home : schools : byron school news April 29, 2016

9/23/2013 1:39:00 PM
Board backs plan for new school

By David Richards

The Byron school board unanimously voted in favor of a new school during its Sept. 16 meeting.

The structure would potentially open in 2016 and house pre-kindergarten through second grades at an estimated cost of just more than $24 million.

The move is an attempt to meet the district's need for more space in addition to preparing for future growth.

Superintendent Jeff Elstad recommended the move prior to the board's vote.

The new school, which would be built on the same site as Byron Elementary, would open two years following the start of all-day, everyday kindergarten, which the board also approved Sept. 16.

All-day, everyday kindergarten will begin for Byron Public Schools during the 2014-2015 school year.

The state has approved funding for the districts who want to participate. Byron would actually see a decrease in funds if it opted against the all-day, everyday program.

"It's beneficial for the kids and for the district," said board member Chris Douglas. "The next trick is where to put them."

Resident enrollment has increased by 5.8 percent in Byron over the past decade and is projected to increase another 16.7 to 20.3 percent in the next 10 years.

In his superintendent's report, Elstad reported that enrollment was up this year by 47 students at 1,894 districtwide.

There's also a seven percent increase in resident enrollment compared with a four percent decrease in non-resident enrollment.

Elstad and board members have already met with residents in Kalmar Township about a potential new school, while meetings with Salem Township and in downtown Byron are expected as well.

At next month's school board meeting, the board will decide on a potential timeline for the new school, in addition to a more specific cost of not only the project but also to tax payers as well.

A bond vote would likely be slated for early next year.

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