More choosing Lyle schools

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 23, 2002

Lyle Public Schools Principal Royce Helmbrecht may not make his goal of a 280 student enrollment this fall, but the school is well on its way at 263.

As of Thursday 19 new students had enrolled at Lyle Public Schools: 14 from Austin, three who just moved to Lyle and two from St. Ansgar.

"I'm really pleasantly surprised by the whole thing," Helmbrecht said. Last year's enrollment was 277.

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Lyle school has begun advertising for a new Kindergarten teacher because enrollment is expected to be at 28. Last year's Kindergarten class had 11 children.

Part of the jump in Kindergarten enrollment may have to do with a new preschool program that began last fall. Those students have tended to continue onto Lyle's Kindergarten class, Helmbrecht said.

The two preschool students who were from out of town have enrolled in Kindergarten this fall.

Helmbrecht thinks the small class sizes are one of the reasons parents from other towns send their children to Lyle.

"I'm sure there's a variety of reasons," he said. "What kind of pleasantly surprised me most was the number of elementary kids. That's a little longer commitment."

The school also picks up out of town children at their homes, something bigger schools are not always able to offer. They may have to find more drivers because of the increase of out of town students.

"A bigger school district can't afford to do that. The kids would never get to school,"

Helmbrecht said. "We won't ever be in that situation."

At some point the school may have to put limits on their open enrollment. If the a new school is constructed, it will have a capacity for about 325 students.

"We have the luxury of being able to accept whoever wants to go here," Helmbrecht said of Lyle School's current situation.

Cari Quam can be reached at 434-2235 or by e-mail at