Some elementary students in the district started the 2011-12 school year in new classrooms last week.

Some elementary students in the district started the 2011-12 school year in new classrooms last week.

Four rooms each were added to Thomas, Wyandot and Wright elementary schools, and students were welcomed into the new classrooms as school began last week.

The 12 classrooms were added to address an increase in enrollment, according to superintendent David Axner, and the district has seen an increase of more than 300 students over this time last year.

"The four classrooms at Wright and four classrooms at Thomas were due to and built because of an increase in enrollment we have on the south and southwest end of the district," he said. "We're up 316 students right now from last year at this time."

The four classrooms at Wyandot Elementary School were built to help delay the construction of a 13th elementary school.

"At Wyandot, (the new classrooms) are really associated with what we're asking for in the bond issue," Axner said.

The district has a combined 7.2-mil operating levy and $25-million bond issue on the fall ballot. If approved by voters, additional classrooms will be added to Deer Run and Glacier Ridge elementary schools.

"That's predominately for enrollment increase and Jerome Village coming at us slower than anticipated," Axner said. "We really feel that the longer we can hold off on elementary 13, the better. That's $1.6 million (annually) in operating costs we can put off."

The 13th elementary school for the district was delayed indefinitely last year.

The 2,200-home Jerome Village development destined for the northwest quadrant of the school district had 38 acres designated for the new elementary school, but little work has been done.

"There have been minimal infrastructure improvements, and at this point no homes have been started," district business-affairs director Annette Morud told board members in November 2010. "It's primarily been delayed by water and sewer (services) from Marysville and road approval from Union County."

The 12 new classrooms did not mean 12 new teachers in the district, Axner said.

"Actually, we've tried to do a better job and didn't have 12 new teachers," he said. "We're doing a better job of tightening things up. We took all elementaries up to cap level, and some of that meant moving staff from building to building. Our sections are much tighter this year."

The new classrooms, which together cost nearly $10.5 million, also meant no new bond issue and were built with existing dollars.

"The bottom line is, in the facilities department, we're in a very good climate in regards to work that's being done, and operating-wise we have trimmed up to almost $16 million since 2007, so some of those dollars were allocated to be used for the classrooms," Axner said.