Pasco School District sees growth in student enrollment

Ty Beaver, Tri-City HeraldAugust 27, 2013 

first day kennewick school bus

Steve Petrask, librarian at Washington Elementary School in Kennewick, sees kids off on Tuesday during the first day of school.

KAI-HUEI YAU — Tri-City Herald Buy Photo

It might be another booming year for student enrollment in the Pasco School District.

The district reported 9,156 students in kindergarten through sixth grade attending class on the first day of school Tuesday, an increase of 436 compared with the same day last year.

The Kennewick School District also started Tuesday. Preliminary enrollment of 16,209 students was close to last year's tally from the same time. Richland students return to class Wednesday, Aug. 28.

Pasco's freshman enrollment came in at 1,034 students on the first day. Officials said they couldn't provide a full count or comparison as Delta High School, which is jointly run by Pasco, Richland and Kennewick, doesn't start until today.

Pasco schools regularly have grown by hundreds of students annually in recent years, enough to fill an elementary school each year. Last year's growth of about 350 students was viewed as a relief by school officials, as it wouldn't compound overcrowding as much.

Regardless, Pasco district officials said it's clear the area still is growing by leaps and bounds. Enrollment is expected to increase in the coming days, especially after Labor Day weekend.

"It will be interesting to see what happens at the (West Pasco) schools," said spokeswoman Leslee Caul.

Kennewick spokeswoman Lorraine Cooper said her district's numbers are very preliminary and enrollment is bound to move upward in the coming days as families continue to enroll students.

"It's really hard to make any comparisons right now," she said.

Last year Kennewick and other Tri-City school districts had an unexpected influx of kindergartners, forcing district officials to add several classes at some schools.

Caul and Cooper said they haven't heard of any particularly large group of students showing up in a single grade this year.

-- Ty Beaver: 509-582-1402; tbeaver@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @_tybeaver

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