The Natrona County School District is expecting to see a larger student population when classes begin Aug. 19.

District-wide enrollment is expected to settle at just over 13,000 this school year, up from the district's 12,700-student figure that was observed at around this time last year.

Mark Mathern, the Natrona County School District’s associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction, says significant growth is being seen in the district’s elementary schools.

“We used to have somewhere between 800 and 900 at every grade level,” Mathern said. “This is the first year at the elementary level that we’re at 1,000 and we’re starting to see signs of going to 1,100 at every grade level – we’ve already started to see that in kindergarten and first grade.”

Mathern says it’s becoming increasingly tough to find space for new Natrona County families with multiple children.

“When a family comes with two, three or four children, it’s very difficult to find empty seats in the same school for all of them at this late date,” Mathern said. “But, we’re still looking for those empty seats, and we move children on wait lists to make sure that we can get families in the same school.”

Second grade is where the district is experiencing its biggest strain. Mathern says only about 35 empty seats in second grade remain throughout the district.

Mathern says, in total, elementary school enrollment is up by 192 students, middle school enrollment is up 30 students and high school enrollment is up 35 students.

Mathern says final enrollment figures will be made available in October.