Four years ago, the Big Walnut school district predicted greater enrollment than what has occurred, school officials said.

Four years ago, the Big Walnut school district predicted greater enrollment than what has occurred, school officials said.

That lack of growth and budget concerns led the district to delay restructuring its buildings into elementary, grades kindergarten to four; intermediate, grades five and six; middle school, grades seven and eight; and high school grades nine to 12. Instead, fifth-graders will stay in elementary schools and sixth-graders will remain in the middle school.

In response to some parents' concerns about overcrowding at the elementary schools, assistant superintendent Gary Barber presented a K-5enrollment presentation at the school board's June 13 meeting.

"We had a couple questions regarding what our buildings were going to look like next year and wanted to give everybody an update and put everybody at ease that everything is going to be fine," Barber said.

Overall, the district is estimated to have eight fewer elementary students in the 2011-12 school year than in the 2010-11 school year, Barber said, noting that enrollment numbers change over the summer.

For the 2010-11, Big Walnut Elementary School had 475 kindergarten to fifth-grade students. For the coming year, 496 students are projected. Barber said the school, which also has modular classrooms, has a capacity of 505 students, though it has housed more than that number in the past.

General Rosecrans Elementary has 524 students in 2010-11. For the coming year, the projection is 527 students. The capacity of that building is 500. "We are tight in that building," Barber said.

The population at Hylen Souders Elementary will decrease. In 2010-11, there were 340 students.

In 2011-12, only 308 students are projected.

The capacity is of the building is 407; modulars on the site could hold about 48 more students.

"We have the most room in Souders. We'd like to avoid redistricting," Barber said.

Instead, the district plans to add one teacher to relieve class size. More details on that decision would come as enrollment for autumn becomes surer.

"In looking at the numbers there is nothing that makes me say, 'Yikes,' right now," Barber said. "The numbers are very sound and I think that our teachers are going to perform very well with those numbers.

If school started today, in 11 of those 18 (grade) sections, we're at lower class sizes than we were at last year. When we made a decision to hold off on the grades five and six configuration, we're doing that based solely on what we believe right now. And what we believe right now is that we are not growing where we thought we were four years ago. And we believe we could hold this off without redistricting by doing some things creatively in town to ensure that our numbers are balanced and everyone's getting the same quality education, and we feel we've accomplished that."