Explosive growth leads to closing open enrollment in Byron
At their meeting Jan. 22, Byron school board members voted unanimously to close open enrollment for kindergartners for the next school year. In a later email, Superintendent Dr. Joey Page explained that the district has had to close open enrollment for at least one grade in recent years.
During the meeting, council members discussed the fact that their goal is to keep classrooms full but not too full.
“Fixed costs are the same for a classroom that’s half full as for one that’s full,” said one member. Open-enrolled students from other districts bring funds from the state with them which helps pay the costs of teaching them.
The recent explosive growth of Byron’s population is the driving force behind the district’s decisions to shift classes from building to building to keep all buildings full but not over crowded.
“Due to growth, we will continue to use the District Administrative and Community Service Building and Byron Primary school for early childhood programming,” explained Page.
When the Primary School opened a few years ago, fifth graders were transferred back to the Intermediate School which opened up space in the Middle School and made it less crowded. Extensive remodeling of that building including the addition of air conditioning also helped the district handle the influx of new students.
Also, district offices were formerly in the high school building but were moved to their current location a few years ago to open up space in the high school.
At a previous meeting, Page noted that the district’s enrollment had surpassed 2,000 students. In Sept. of 2008, the district’s enrollment was 1,683. That is a growth rate of almost 19 percent.
The senior class this year has 141 students. Next year’s kindergarten class is projected to have about 200 students.
Board members also congratulated student Rylee Finney who won the seventh and eighth grade division competition for poetry writing for the Zumbro Education District’s annual creative writing contest. There were 200 writers in that division, explained a ZED spokesperson. Prose and poetry are the categories in each division.
Member districts of the Zumbro Education District include Blooming Prairie, Byron, Hayfield, Kasson-Mantorville, Pine Island, Stewartville, and Triton. This was the 26 year the writing contest has been held.
There were also 33 honorable mention compositions from other Byron students including: Claire Amberg, Natalia Behrens, Mara Booth, Madilyn Davidson, Carson Douglas, Conner Esser, Josh Gibson, Anna Johnson, Ellyn Jordahl, Hayden Landswerk, Jayson Lee, Brooke Levy, Parker McKay, Elisabeth Mull, Maggie Payne, Olivia Richardson, Megan Rink, Averie Rolland, Ali Storlie, Kenzie Zimmerman, Addison Johnson, Jordyn Marin, Lynsey Mittelstadt
Kelly Amberg, Jax Anderson, Emily Bittner, Gianna Brewer, Avery Hemminger, Hanora Olson, Ella Rodemeyer, Rylan Stotts, Makayla Swanson and April Gentling.
In other business, the board approved the installation of an ATM at the high school. There is no cost to the school for the installation or maintenance of the machine. Board members thought there was a need for students and guests to be able to get cash during the school day and at events. First Alliance Credit Union is providing the ATM and will install and maintain it.
The school board will meet again for a workshop at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 4 in the District Administration and Community Services building at 630 First Ave. NW.