Pasco schools continue to outpace the rest of the Tri-Cities in student enrollment growth, but the Richland and Kennewick districts also are seeing some increases.
Pasco had about 14,000 students Tuesday, the first full day of classes. That’s an increase of about 5 percent over this time last year, the district reported.
“We’re still growing,” said Dennis Maguire, associate superintendent.
The district has seen 4 percent to 5 percent growth each year over the last several years, he said.
The new Chiawana High Schools, which opened this week off West Argent Road, will help in managing the swelling numbers, he said. About 1,600 students in grades 9-11 will take classes there this year, with a senior class added in 2010-2011.
The opening of the second high school means the district could turn the annex building at Pasco High back into a facility for younger students. The annex was an elementary school — called Captain Gray — until 2000, when it was converted to help hold all the high schoolers.
This year, it’s housing more than 400 kindergartners from four elementary schools in the district — freeing up some space at those schools.
Maguire said district officials are meeting every day to discuss enrollment. Student numbers fluctuate as the first week of school progresses, so decisions about adding extra classes likely won’t be made for a few days, he said.
“By the end of the week, we’ll feel more comfortable with the numbers and have a sense where we’re headed,” he said.
Richland schools had an opening day count of 10,897 students, up 300 students — or about 2.8 percent — over this time last year.
Most of the growth came in schools to the south and west — Badger Mountain, Tapteal, White Bluffs and Wiley elementary schools and Enterprise Middle School.
“That’s certainly not unexpected,” said district spokesman Steve Aagaard. “We see a lot of houses being built there and correspondingly (increased) enrollment in those parts of the district.”
Tuesday was the first day of classes in Richland.
In Kennewick, there were 15, 098 students Tuesday, the second day of the new academic year in the district. That’s an increase of 150 students over this time last year.
“Preliminarily, we’re looking pretty steady in our secondary enrollment (and) are seeing a bit of growth in the elementary schools.” said Lorraine Cooper, district spokeswoman.
Elementary enrollment was up 103 students over this time last year, the district reported.
Middle school was down 11 students and high school was up 58 students, the district said.
Source: Tri City Herald