By ANDREA JOHNSON
Stacey Fick and Reed Kuhnhenn fill out paperwork during an open house at Washington Elementary Tuesday. Isaac Kuhnhenn, left, will be a third grader and Kohen Kuhnhenn, right, will be going into kindergarten.
Savannah Mitam will be a fifth grader at Washington. She attended an open house at Washington on Tuesday. Today is the first day of school in the Minot Public Schools.
Enrollment is likely up this fall in the Minot Public Schools, but Superintendent Mark Vollmer said Monday he isn't sure how many more students there will be.
On Tuesday afternoon, Summer Cisneros was waiting at the district office to enroll her daughter, Maddi, in kindergarten at North Plains Elementary. Cisneros and her family arrived in North Dakota from California three days earlier and haven't had a chance to see much of Minot beyond the base.
Cisneros was one of dozens of parents who will register their children for classes this week. Enrollment specialists said they've been seeing up to 40 new families registering their children for classes each day during the last few weeks.
Billy Boyeff, data management specialist for the district, said there are 7,681 students enrolled as of Tuesday, with an additional 93 families scheduled to enroll their children through Friday. On the first day of school in 2013, there were 7,372 students, but some of last year's students might not return this year.
"We'll get the true picture after the first couple days of school, who doesn't show up," said Boyeff, who said he will have a better idea of enrollment after Labor Day.
An open house held Tuesday afternoon at Washington Elementary brought hundreds of families to check out the school before the first day of school today.
Stacey Fick and Reed Kuhnhenn were filling out paperwork for Isaac Kuhnhenn, a third grader, and Kohen Kuhnhenn, a kindergartener.
Isaac said he's looking forward to seeing all his friends when school starts and thinks he will be getting a good teacher.
Washington Elementary, which is bursting at the seams, has nine portable classrooms in use outside the main building, as well as a classroom in a building next door that is rented by the school district. Washington has the most portables in use of any school in the district.
Savannah Mitam, who is going into the fifth grade, said her classroom will be in one of the portables at Washington this year.
"It has its ups and downs," she said, though she had a hard time coming up with one of the "ups" of being in a portable classroom.
Voters in the district approved a $39.5 million bond issue in April that will pay for construction of two new school additions at Edison and Perkett Elementaries and of a new elementary school in southeast Minot. The classroom additions should be completed by the start of the 2015-2016 school year.
When school starts today, the district will also have six new portable radios donated by Jonathan Malaterre, owner of Third Watch Communications. Malaterre said he donated them for use in emergencies because cell phones might not always work in a crisis situation.
Barry Brooks said the school district will try them out at some schools to see how they work. Brooks said they might be useful for instant communication between teachers and the school office, perhaps if a child is injured on the school playground. Malaterre said he thinks the radios might be in use mainly at the two high school campuses at first.