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Sioux Falls enrollment up, but less than expected

SIOUX FALLS (AP) — Enrollment in South Dakota's largest school district is up this year, but not at the level officials expected.

The Sioux Falls School District has 330 more students this year than last, but the increase is less than half of what officials expected when they made budget projections, the Argus Leader reported.

Sioux Falls' enrollment after the first week of K-12 classes is 22,642 students — about 400 less than expected. The total will probably change because of late enrollees, officials said, and they've already marked $2.5 million from reserves to help make up the potential gap in state funding.

"We've had phenomenal years of growth for the last couple of years," said district spokeswoman DeeAnn Konrad. "We will continue to figure out where our students are at and welcome anyone new who comes to us."

The Sioux Falls School District's elementary schools accounted for the largest growth this year, with 270 more students than last year. Middle schools counted 80 more students and high schools are down 20 students.

South Dakota schools will count their students again in late September to determine how much money they'll get from the state.

Most surrounding school districts reported growth beyond what was projected.

Brandon Valley School District's initial enrollment is up about 100 students over last year, surpassing the budget projections of 85 new students. And Tea Area School District's first-day attendance saw an increase of about 60 students over last year for a total of 1,520, Superintendent Jennifer Lowery said.

"We've been seeing increases between 4 and 6 percent over the last seven years," Lowery said.