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Enrollment up in DL School District

The 2012-13 enrollment numbers for the Detroit Lakes School District are out, and they are looking good.

According to Superintendent Doug Froke, the district is up 75 kids compared to this time last year.

Froke presented the numbers to the school board at Monday night's regular board meeting, and says although those are "very exciting" numbers, it does put an even tighter crunch on space.

Enrollment for the district is at 2,859 with 1,341 coming from the elementary schools (227 of those are kindergarteners), 622 from the Middle School, 852 from the High School and 44 from the Alternative Learning Center.

Good test scores

Detroit Lakes students are on a roll with numbers, as last spring's test results are also impressing school leaders.

In the absence of No Child Left Behind, the MMR (which grades schools on proficiency, achievement gap and growth) compared last year's test scores with those of the 2010-11 numbers, and nearly every category in every school in Detroit Lakes made adequate yearly progress, with the exception of special education math at the high school.

Roosevelt Elementary was deemed a "Celebration School" for being in the top 75 percent in Minnesota, but only a technicality kept other schools from receiving a similar label.

Only Title I schools are given those designations, which Roosevelt is. The Middle School and the High School performed even higher than Roosevelt, but are not Title I schools.

"So just outstanding work by students and staff," said Froke.

Pool down

In other news from the meeting, a leak in the high school pool has school leaders talking about the possibility of eliminating swimming as a graduation requirement for this year's seniors.

According to Business Manager Nancy Olson, the pool is losing about four inches of water a day.

She says new relief valves have been installed in the hopes that they are the problem, as that would be a relatively quick fix.

However, if it isn't, school officials are bracing for the possibility that the problem is more complicated and could put the pool out of commission for the entire school year.

Administrators are waiting to take action until more is known about the problem. In the meantime, the girls swim team is practicing at the DLCCC.

Taxpayer money

School leaders have also pulled some preliminary numbers for a potential bond to build or add on to Detroit Lakes schools.

With an assumed interest rate of 3.5 percent, the preliminary analysis breaks down how much homeowners and businesses throughout the city will pay for a number of project options.

For instance, if one of the least expensive construction plans of roughly $15 million were passed, homeowners with a $200,000 home would pay about $50 more per year for 20 years.

If a bigger, more comprehensive plan of $61 million were passed, those same homeowners would pay roughly $324 over their normal yearly taxes.

Although there are still a few variables that could changes those numbers, administrators are beginning to research the financial possibilities more before the next steering committee meeting next Wednesday.

"This gives you an idea of just exactly what the impact might be -- your steering committee might need to start cluing people in because they need to know how much things are going to run," said Froke. "If we're looking all the way out at $60 million for a new high school, this is what it's going to cost people ... so they know and that can help in their decision-making process."