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Aberdeen District Growing

September 13, 2012, 5:00 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Aberdeen District Growing
ABERDEEN, SD -

The Aberdeen School District is adding classes to keep up with a growing student body.

The district has nearly 200 more students than last year and the trend is expected to continue. With nearly 4,200 students, the district is looking into where it’ll go from here.

It's in elementary classrooms that the Aberdeen School District is seeing the most growth. After years of declines, the superintendent was happy to see a turnaround. It started five years ago and hasn't stopped.

"For whatever reason we have currently 390 kindergarten students and that's about 60 more than we usually have," superintendent Gary Harms said.

So the district added two kindergarten classes and a first grade as well. Administrators track birth rates in Brown County and were anticipating more kindergarteners this year but not an additional 60.

Julie Johnson of Absolutely! Aberdeen attributes it in part to economic growth in the area.

"More opportunities all the way around, lots of young families deciding the area they grew up in is doing pretty well if they're doing things like building new schools and creating new jobs, that it's worth returning," Johnson said.

And with employers in various industry sectors hiring, Johnson anticipates that growth will continue.

The district will look into a feasibility study this year to determine whether it needs to expand in the future to fit more students.

"I would envision that might be three, four, five years out from this particular point but we certainly want to be ready for that," Harms said.

As a once declining enrollment in the northeast South Dakota district is on the incline once again.

Watertown is another northeast district that's growing. Its seen numbers rise over the past few years at a rate the superintendent says hasn't been seen for about 20 years. She sites job opportunities there as well and the growth of Lake Area Tech.

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