Officials at Missoula County Public Schools are reporting a rise in enrollment with the start of the 2014-2015 school year.

Director of Communications Hatton Littman said the enrollment numbers are both good and bad news for the district.

"We're looking at about 140 more students in our district than we had at the beginning of last year," Littman said. "That increase is primarily centered in the K-8 grade levels. While we're excited to welcome so many new students into the district, we acknowledge that the increase does create a challenge to find space for all of them."

Littman said the anticipated increase in enrollment is right on schedule with what planners had foreseen.

"We've been working for the past year and a half on our Smart Schools 2020 plan, and we're hoping to put a larger bond request in front of taxpayers this time next year to help fund expansions and additions and renovations," she said. "What we know from that study is that we're anticipating over 900 more students by the 2016-2017 school year."

Littman said the increase, especially in the elementary grades, has led to some difficult decisions.

"In order to accommodate accreditation standards, if a specific school is maxed out on either classroom space, or accreditation size limits, we have to look at moving some of those students to a different school in a process we call leveling," Litman said. "So, we work very closely with those families to find another school that will meet their needs, as well as with Beach Transportation, because we try to provide door-to-door bus service for students that can't attend their neighborhood school."

As of September 5, School District One had 3,666 students in K-5, 1,566 in grades 6-8, and 3,612 in grades 9-12, for a total enrollment of 8,844 students.

Director of Communications Hatton Littman