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LAKE MILLS - Fifty-eight students from the Glenville-Emmons School District in Minnesota will open enroll to Lake Mills this fall due to closing of the Emmons Middle School.

The G-E School Board decided to close the building last week due to financial struggles. Monday was the deadline for families to indicate if they would exercise open enrollment options.

"This is sudden," said Daryl Sherman, Lake Mills superintendent. He said many people thought the elementary building in Glenville would be the one to close. When the decision was made to close the Emmons building instead, "it changed the dynamics for a lot of people up there," Sherman said.

Emmons is located just 61/2 miles from Lake Mills. Sherman said a lot of families from the Emmons area decided to send their children to Lake Mills because it is so close to home and they like the small class sizes. They also are happy that grades K-12 are all in one building.

Seven students from the G-E district are currently open enrolled at Lake Mills through an agreement between the two districts that has been in existence since 1991.

According to this agreement, the Lake Mills district charges the G-E district the lower of the two states' per-pupil tuition rates for each G-E student open enrolled to Lake Mills.

The G-E district will pay the Lake Mills district the Iowa per-pupil rate of $4,648 for each open enrolled student this fall. This means Lake Mills will receive $269,584 for the 58 new open-enrolled students.

Most of the students from G-E coming to Lake Mills are in grades K-8. Only five are high school students.

The biggest enrollment increase for Lake Mills will be in the fifth grade, with 11 new students.

Sherman said the district is looking at adding two staff positions at the elementary-middle school level to handle the influx.

The school was already "hovering between two and three sections in some grades," Sherman said. Those grades now will be split into three sections, with 17 to 22 students each. That is a good class size, according to Sherman.

The Lake Mills district has worked out an agreement with the Iowa Department of Transportation so students from G-E can be bused across state lines.

On Tuesday night, Lake Mills will be host of a special event for the new students and their families that will include tours of the building and information on school life.

"Our intent is to make the transition as smooth as possible because we know this is a tough time for the families," Sherman said.

More than 100 G-E students are leaving the district this fall through open enrollment.

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