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Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The new school year begins this week for the majority of the students in the Rochester School District.

Those students will be experiencing some significant changes at the start of the 2022-2023 school year. One of the more impactful changes will be the need for most students to pay for their school lunches. Additional federal funding had allowed the school district to offer lunches free of charge since the beginning of the pandemic.

Students Eat Lunch In The School Cafeteria
Getty Images

School start times are also different this year. The School Board earlier approved a recommendation from Superintendent Kent Pekel to shift the start and end of the school day 10 minutes earlier while the school district continues studying the possibility of making more significant changes in the future.

Over the summer, the school district revamped its school bus routes to reflect the school attendance boundary changes that were needed with the openings of three new elementary schools and a new middle school. Students attending Longfellow Elementary School began holding classes in their brand-new building in late July, while the new Bishop and Overland Elementary Schools officially open this week. Overland was used last year by students who attend Bishop Elementary while their new school was under construction. This is also the first school year for the new Dakota Middle School in far northwest Rochester.

The school district is, again, staggering the start of the school year. The district's graders report Tuesday for their first day of classes, while the remainder of the high school students report on Wednesday along with middle school students. Outside of Longfellow elementary, the new school year begins Thursday for Rochester Public Schools elementary students and the first "regular" school day will be on Friday.

Rochester Public Schools
Rochester Public Schools

The school district will start the new school year with a preliminary enrollment of 17,647 students which is slightly above the level used for budgeting and staffing purposes. The official enrollment number, which is used by the state to determine per-pupil funding, will be counted on October 1. The official enrollment number from October of last year was about 17,800.

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