SAUK RAPIDS -- In response to community input, the Sauk Rapids-Rice School District has decided to formally reduce, and cap open enrollment.

The plan will cap the open enrolled students coming into the district at the same level of students leaving the district through open enrollment elsewhere. Right now, that number is not capped.

For an example, when the new policy goes into effect, if there are 600 students leaving, the district will cap open enrollment at 600 for that year. If 500 leave the next year, the district will cap the number at 500, and so on.

School Board Chair Mark Hauck says the move will help stabilize enrollment, and still provide the same level of opportunities the money from open enrollment provided.

"[The spots] vacated by students that are leaving, could be filled by open-enrolled students. This would help us maintain a good financial position by doing that, which will also provide opportunities for students."

The district is reimbursed $6,000 - $7,000 per openly enrolled student, depending on if they're elementary, or secondary students. Hauck says the move is, in part, an effort to help alleviate serious space issues in their elementary schools.

"The new policy will guarantee our elementary level -- which is the level that has the most space concerns at this point -- will match our middle school and high school capacity."

The district says the move to cap open enrollment will not reduce the immediate or long-term space concerns at Pleasantview and Mississippi Heights elementary schools.

This policy will be effective at the start of the 2018-2019 school year.

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