SAUK RAPIDS -- Earlier this month the Sauk Rapids-Rice School District announced it was increasing open enrollment caps to help balance a nearly $5.3 million budget deficit.

Superintendent Brad Bergstrom says the non-resident enrollment is on a first-come-first-serve basis through the end of this month.

We raised them from 300 at Kindergarten to 340, in grades one through five it was 320 it's now at 340, and in sixth through 12th grades, we were at 340 we raised that to 365.

Bergstrom says they are anticipating gaining about 50 students that will enroll through this open enrollment process. This district is down 319 students from four years ago. He says with the new Pleasantview elementary opening this fall they have the capacity to have more kids.

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The School District is also making $1.9 million in budget cuts. Bergstrom says 80 percent of their budget is in staffing.

We have fewer students now than we did back in 2018, but we have more staff now than we did back then.  So what we're trying to do is right size and make those adjustments.

Bergstrom says the cuts are impacting six employees.

The Sauk Rapids-Rice School District does not have an operating levy right now and Bergstrom says the board isn't planning to bring a ballot question to the voters. He says, even if there was a question on the November ballot, those dollars wouldn't be available to the district until the 2023-2024 school year so it wouldn't help them with this year's budget.

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