By Daniel de Vise
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Montgomery County schools opened today with what the superintendent described as an unexpected bump in enrollment of more than 1,000 students, some of them switching from private schools.
Superintendent Jerry D. Weast, leader of Maryland's largest school system, said he is projecting well over 138,000 students as classes resume and as many as 140,000 within 18 months. Enrollment last fall was 137,717.
"It's people who are living here, coming back in record numbers from private school," Weast said this morning at Shady Grove Middle School in Gaithersburg. He was there to plug an expansion of county efforts to improve somewhat stagnant middle school performance.
Weast said there was notable enrollment growth in the Bethesda area and Silver Spring.
Yesterday, Prince George's County schools, with the state's second-largest system, opened with about 130,000 students, and the D.C. public school system opened with about 50,000 students. D.C. public charter schools have various start dates.
Schools in Howard, Charles and Frederick, Md., counties also opened yesterday, in addition to some in Anne Arundel County. The rest of Anne Arundel's schools open today.
Schools in St. Mary's and Calvert counties opened last week; schools in Northern Virginia open next week.