The Kalispell School District has experienced consistent growth for the last decade, and this year’s fall enrollment numbers show the trend continues, with more students in seats across the Flathead Valley than last year.
“Fortunately for us, (the student population growth) has been manageable up to this point,” said Kalispell Public Schools Superintendent Mark Flatau.
Enrollment for the entire district, including elementary, middle and high schools, was 5,920 in October, a roughly 0.8 percent increase over last year’s 5,873 students.
Flatau said enrollment numbers this year show how the district has expanded in the last decade, adding 834 students in 10 years. The 2006-2007 school year saw 5,086 total students in the district.
The elementary district — including Edgerton, Russell, Elrod, Hedges, Peterson, and Kalispell Middle School — had a total of 3,023 kids in October. Comparatively, in 2015, the student population hit a record 3,018 kids, and the city’s five elementary were 225 students over capacity.
Flatau said the continual growth has the district excited to open its new elementary school on Airport Road in Kalispell, which will be ready for students in August 2018. Voters approved a $25.28 million elementary district bond last year to pay for the new school as well as repairs and updates on the city’s existing five elementary schools.
“That’s great news,” he said. “We continue to be grateful for that.”
High school enrollment for SD5 — meaning Flathead and Glacier high schools — hit 2,897 this fall.
Flatau said student numbers tend to fluctuate throughout the year as families move in and out of and around the valley, but the reality of continued growth in the student population is inescapable.
“Are we growing by 10 percent (annually)? No, but you can see it is steady growth,” Flatau said.
Provided by Kalispell School District #5
First Graders: 320
Second Graders: 334
Third Graders: 326
Fourth Graders: 359
Fifth Graders: 300
Sixth Graders: 335
Seventh Graders: 377
Eighth Graders: 340
Ninth Graders: 728
10th Graders: 763
11th Graders: 755
12th Graders: 651
Update: This article was edited to correct the percentage change in student population from last year from 8 percent to 0.8 percent. The Beacon regrets the error.