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Lincoln Public Schools just keeps growing.

After a larger-than-expected growth spurt last year, LPS officials are projecting an additional 630 students in kindergarten-12th grade next year.

But Marilyn Moore, associate superintendent for instruction, cautioned that estimate could be low.

Traditionally, she said, enrollment projections are quite accurate. But for some reason, nearly 370 more students than projected showed up last year, and the district had to figure out how to educate 940 more students than the year before.

"We'll probably be off because that's what happened to us last year," she told the Lincoln Board of Education on Tuesday.

Of the new students projected to show up next year, 455 will be in grade school, though the district is starting to see growth in middle schools as the record-breaking kindergarten classes of a few years ago get older.

Middle schools are projected to grow by 201 students, while high school enrollment will dip slightly, with 26 fewer students because of a smaller group of incoming freshmen.

Total district enrollment for next year, including preschool, is expected to be 35,571. Kindergarten-12th grade is projected at 34,387.

The projections for elementary school include moving some English Language Learners from Belmont Elementary to Campbell Elementary, Moore said.

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An addition is being completed at Campbell so that ELL students who live in that attendance area can go to Campbell rather than Belmont.

The move is intended to ease overcrowding at Belmont. Moore noted that while enrollment at the two schools will be similar after the move, Belmont's capacity is much smaller, which means it will still be overcrowded.

And, both Roper and Maxey elementaries are projected to have more than 900 students next year. They each have a capacity of 792 students.

The board's planning committee is considering recommending a new elementary in south Lincoln to help ease overcrowding at Maxey, as well as building a new building near Roper to house fourth- and fifth-graders.

The full board will discuss those and other possible changes to the board's 10-year facilities plan at a work session within the next two weeks.

Several board members on Tuesday questioned whether the city's growth pockets would require boundary changes, which board member Richard Meginnis said the planning committee will discuss.

If the projections hold, Scott will be the largest middle school with 922 students and Southeast will be the largest high school with 1,895 students.

Reach Margaret Reist at 473-7226 or mreist@journalstar.com.



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