Double Branch Elementary School, one of five new Pasco schools to open this week, expected to enroll 691 kids this year. It debuted with 799 - that's 37 more than it was built for. And it's not the only Pasco school to open with more students than expected.
Year-old Wiregrass Ranch High School started the year with 150 more teens than originally projected. Brand new Charles Rushe Middle School opened with 80 kids more than its estimate, too. And year-old Trinity Oaks Elementary in Odessa ended its first day with 45 children over its expected total for the year. District wide, the district had about 2,000 more students on Day One than it did a year ago.
The common thread? All the schools with the biggest numbers are in the county's fast-growing south-central region. The surprise? Housing sales looked to be slowing, and so school officials expected enrollment growth to slow, too.
Already, principals are looking at how to reassign students and teachers to lessen the impact. They're also asking for additional teachers. Superintendent Heather Fiorentino huddled with her senior staff this afternoon to consider the options, which include releasing frozen teaching positions and relocating portables where they're needed.
Nothing will happen too quickly, Fiorentino told the Gradebook, noting that first-day figures often give little insight into the future. Many families that have registered never show up, she said, while others that haven't will show up for the next couple of weeks.
"We'll be discussing this for the next several weeks," Fiorentino said. "But the conversation will start today."