Byron school district trying to get ahead of DMC population boom - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Byron school district trying to get ahead of DMC population boom

BYRON, Minn. (KTTC) -- The Byron school district is facing a tough challenge in the next decade with an early elementary school at maximum capacity and lofty population projections for the future.  To combat the growing population, the school district has asked for a $25 million bond referendum to build a new school for pre-school through second grade.

The school district says the elementary school had nearly 725 students last year, which is 80 students above capacity.

Future projections appear to be tight over the next 10 years with a projected increase of about 17 to 20 percent more students.

The overcrowding is an issue that Superintendent Jeff Elstad is already afraid of.

"As class sizes grow, particularly in the primary grades, there is an impact on learning," Elstad said. "And so, we are trying to, like I said, put our best foot forward and give our kids the best educational experience that they can have."

The demographic study requested by the school district was done prior to Destination Medical Center, and side effects from DMC could put the district in deep trouble.

"Once we found that, that had passed last May, we contacted the demographer that did the enrollment study originally, and her exact words were that this is a game changer for the Byron school district," Elstad said.

The demographer speculates that growth factoring in DMC could range anywhere from a 30 to 40 percent increase over the next ten years.

Voting will be held Tuesday in Byron. If the bond is approved, the new school will be ready by the 2016-2017 school year.

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