Another first day of school means more new students for Mid-Columbia school districts.
The Richland School District welcomed back 12,487 students on Tuesday -- 442 additional students compared with the first day of the 2013-14 school year.
The growth is spread among Richland's elementary and middle schools, said district spokesman Steve Aagaard, with a few central Richland elementary schools seeing as many as 50 to 60 more students.
"We're bursting at the seams, the new school (in south Richland) can't come soon enough," Assistant Superintendent Mike Hansen told the Richland school board Tuesday.
The Pasco School District saw growth but not at the same rapid pace as in recent years. Not all middle school and high school students attended classes Tuesday.
Of the K-6 students and freshmen who attended Tuesday, there were 254 more students than on the first day of classes last fall. That's about half as many new students as the district saw at the same time last year.
"It's just the first day and we'll continue to monitor," said Pasco School District spokeswoman Leslee Caul.
There were about 1,057 new freshmen at Pasco's high schools Tuesday. All high school students will return to school today.
Tuesday's enrollment figures also included 8,094 K-5 Pasco students and 1,212 sixth-graders.
Kennewick school officials did not release student enrollment numbers Tuesday, saying they wouldn't have accurate data until after the Labor Day holiday.
"It's the first day of school and we still have families walking into our school offices to register for school," said Kennewick Superintendent Dave Bond in a release.
However, Kennewick will add 25 teaching positions this fall because of anticipated growth, with most of those new positions at the elementary school level, district officials said. Pasco and Richland are also increasing their personnel to accommodate additional students.
Richland and Pasco also are building schools, thanks to voter-approved bonds, to help ease classroom crowding. The Kennewick School Board will consider this fall a bond that would build three new schools and renovate or rebuild two others if passed by voters.
The districts are also bracing for more growth over the next few weeks. Officials note that some students don't begin attending classes until after the three-day Labor Day weekend.
-- Ty Beaver: 509-582-1402; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @_tybeaver; Google+: +TyBeaverTCHerald