After several years of slowly declining enrollment, the Meramec Valley R-III School District registered a slight uptick in the number of students this year.

Some 3,232 students were enrolled in the district on Sept. 25, 2013, the official enrollment date, up from 3,162 on the official enrollment date in 2012, an increase of 70 students.

A 2010 demographic study indicated that the district had been in slow decline with enrollment that year approximately the same as in 1986. The reason, according to study officials was an aging population and the fact that not enough young families were moving into the district.

“The district enrollment was at its strongest when there were 600 residential permits a year. Now fewer than 50 building permits are issued per year,” the report said.

The recent increase in the number of new housing starts in Pacific and the higher enrollment numbers for the 2013 school year could be a harbinger of a change in the trend.

Grade level enrollment is tracked carefully from year to year to plan for the number of teachers required for each class.

Some individual grade levels still show a decline, while others have a higher numbers of students. Some 254 ninth-graders entered Pacific High School this August, down from 268 in 2012. Sophomore enrollment was also down with 248 students this year compared with 269 last year.

The 11th grade had an increase of 30 students over last year and there were eight more seniors than in 2012.

Riverbend School showed an increase of 29 eighth-graders.

At the Meramec Valley Middle School, fluctuating enrollment created a washout with an increase of 57 sixth-grade students and a decrease of 51 seventh-graders, leaving a total gain for the building of six students.

Elementary school students counts are as follow:

• Coleman, 435 students this year, up from 419 last year;

• Nike 122 students this year, down from 139 last year;

• Robertsville, 153 students this year, up from 144 last year;

• Truman, 331 students this year, down from 335 last year; and

• Zitzman, 484 students this year, up from 458 last year.

Biggest enrollment gains in elementary schools is the kindergarten class at Coleman, which has 77 students this year compared with 61 in 2012.

Second-grade classes at Robertsville and Truman Elementary also showed jumps. Robertsville’s second grade class has 25 students up from 17 in 2012 for a gain of eight students.

The Truman Elementary second-grade class is up 66 students from 51 in 2012 for a gain of 15 students.