There's no question that the Westside Community Schools is a mature school district, with none of the rapid enrollment growth that characterizes the Elkhorn, Bennington and Gretna districts.
But a look at Westside's numbers indicates that it's gaining students, not from outside the district through open enrollment but from families that reside within its boundaries.
Superintendent Blane McCann noted at a school board meeting this week that the district's enrollment stood at 6,116, up from recent years.
That included an increase among residents of about 200 students — an indication that the district may be seeing some turnover, with older residents moving out and younger ones coming in.
Westside this fall added a section of kindergarten at two elementary schools — Swanson and Westbrook.
“The myth is we're not getting new resident students, but we are,” McCann said.
That picture was reinforced Thursday during a report on Westside's enrollment and demographic trends by RSP & Associates, an Overland Park, Kan., firm that specializes in planning for school districts.
The report is one piece of a major study the district is conducting of its facilities. Additional pieces will look at building needs and functionality.
Robert Schwarz, the company's CEO, said enrollment is projected to increase to about 6,200 over the next five years. That growth will create capacity problems at some buildings.
During the 2012-13 school year, open enrollment students made up about 38 percent of the student count. But the number of such students has been fairly stable.
The growth, he said, has come among district residents.
“It's people actually choosing to live here,” Schwarz said.
The Westside district is bounded generally by Interstate 80 on the south, I-680 on the west, Blondo Street on the north and 72nd Street to the east.
According to the report, the district's population declined at a rate of 0.25 percent a year between 2000 and 2010 but is expected to increase by 0.78 percent a year between 2012 and 2017.
Westside Middle School is expected to exceed capacity by 2014-15 and the district's high school by 2016-17.
McCann said the report, and the building studies to follow, will provide the district with the information it needs to plan for the future.