For more than 11,000 Mustang students, Thursday is the first day of the new school year.
Officials with the Mustang School District said they expect last year’s enrollment of 11,434 students to be eclipsed by about 400 for the new year.
According to early enrollment numbers, Mustang has 11,960 students. However, that number is expected to slip some as officials find that students have moved from the district.
The final total won’t be known until Oct. 1.
“We have had consistent growth for years,” said Shannon Rigsby, a spokesperson for the district.
“We have a long-range planning committee that convenes and discusses what we need to do to prepare for the ever-increasing student enrollment through bond issues,” she said.
Bond money has paid for the construction of two new schools — Riverwood Elementary and Meadow Brook Intermediate.
Both schools open Thursday for the first time.
“We are bless to have an elementary and an intermediate opening, and a new middle school will open next year,” she said.
Other building projects are underway as well, including an expansion at the high school that will include new freshman classrooms, a performing art center and a science academy.
The growth of the district is always a significant factor in planning, Rigsby said.
Mustang’s district covers 69 square miles.
Meanwhile, the district has 173 new teachers and counselors. Of those, 41 are emergency certified.
Among the additions to the district this year is all-day pre-K classes. Rigsby said the program is at capacity.
There also are three half-day pre-K classes.
Another significant change is who is leading the district.
Sean McDaniel, who had served as superintendent in Mustang for six years, resigned in May to become the superintendent in Oklahoma City.
Charles Bradley, who was serving as the assistant superintendent, has been appoint to the job on an interim bases.
A search for a replacement for McDaniel is underway, but is not likely to be completed until early next year.
Bradley said this will be an exciting year for the district.
“We have had the benefit of being able to open a new elementary school and a new intermediate school, as well as multiple other projects under construction that will increase the capacity and what we can offer our students,” Bradley said. “We are so thankful our legislators made strides in improving teacher pay, support pay and increasing funding for our students. We only have a handful of teaching spots to fill that have come open because of the increase in enrollment in the last few weeks. Mustang is such an attractive district, I know we will be able to get quality candidates for those slots. We are ready to greet the kids on Thursday.”