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The Class of 2019


Fri, Jan 22nd, 2010
Posted in Progress Edition

As the people of Fillmore County look toward the future of their graduating classes, what does that picture look like?

With statewide and local school funding so dependent upon student enrollment numbers, along with concerns about the impact of open enrollment at a rural level, every student comes with a price tag. The Class of 2019 presents our lowest price point at this moment.

Fillmore County

In Fillmore County, if you were to take the collection of all students from every grade of Kindergarten through 12th grade from all six public school districts during the 2008-2009 school year, you would see a 13-year trend worthy of considerable discussion.

According to an analysis of current trends, the projections look grim. The enrollment of 12th graders throughout all six school districts in Fillmore County (including the Chatfield School District, which teeters on the boarder of Olmsted and Fillmore counties) was 340 students during the 2008-2009 school year. This number compares to the anticipated Class of 2019 for all six Fillmore County school districts, which currently totals 228 students.

Starting with the year 2013, Fillmore County's total enrollment is anticipated to drop from 269 in 2012 to 245 students. From that point moving forward, Fillmore County's collective student enrollment estimates an average just under 249 over the next 12 years.

So, based on current student enrollment, it is anticipated that Fillmore County's collective six school district enrollment numbers will drop from 340 to an average of 249 - a loss of nearly 91 students that doesn't appear to be recoverable unless something drastically changes.

Chatfield School District

While Chatfield has made a significant statement of anticipated growth in years to come, investing over $16 million in a brand new school, the question still remains: how much growth can Chatfield expect in years to come? According to Principal Craig Ihrke, the current enrollment fills 75 percent of the total capacity, leaving another 25 percent for enrollment opportunities.

The new school will bring prospective residents to Hilltop Estates and other residential developments, but how many of those families will support their local Chatfield business community? A healthy balance of residential growth, along with local business support, has been the focus of concern for many speculators. Fewer successful businesses could lead to less funding direc .....
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