By Rebecca LaFlure

Killeen Daily Herald

Students across Central Texas returned to class Monday after a nearly three-month summer hiatus.

Overall, it was business as usual in the Killeen Independent School District despite the many changes this school year.

KISD administrators spent the day surveying the district's schools to ensure everything ran smoothly. Superintendent Robert Muller, who began his district tour at Peebles Elementary School and concludedit

at Harker Heights High School, said he thought the first day went "extremely well."

"The fact that the day has gone so smoothly speaks well of our principals and the efforts of the teachers," Muller said. "It's been a good first day."

Administrators did run into some bumps along the way at the district's 52 campuses. There were several delays as students and parents waited in lines to complete their registration forms. At Live Oak Ridge Middle School, 180 students showed up without their shot records.

Several campuses had classes with up to 40 students. David Dominguez, Ellison High School's new principal, said he would like to create more sections to reduce class sizes. The rest of the day went nearly perfectly, he said.

The bells didn't work at Fowler Elementary. At Bellaire Elementary School, eight cars were ticketed for parking in a school zone. Principal David House said there aren't nearly enough parking spaces around the campus.

"With all the staff parked, we have only nine spots for parents," he told Muller Monday.

Despite the several hiccups, nearly all administrators commented on how well KISD's first day went.

Two new schools opened Monday: Richard E. Cavazos Elementary School and Charles E. Patterson Middle School. The district welcomed 16 new principals and about 200 new teachers.

Also, it was the first day of school for the district's top two administrators. Muller was promoted to superintendent in March, and Deputy Superintendent Bobby Ott joined KISD in May.

As for the district's enrollment, KISD spokeswoman Leslie Gilmore said Monday's figures were close to district projections. KISD officials estimated a decline of 1,250 students this school year.

"Some of the schools are over, some schools are under, but overall the numbers are in the ballpark of our projections," Gilmore said.

KISD officials would not provide any specific numbers. Last year, the district had about 39,400 students on the first day – an increase of 800 students compared with the year before.

In upcoming weeks, Muller plans to monitor the district's enrollment numbers and shift staff members as needed. His second priority is to ensure that campuses get the support they need.

"If we have issues, like not having enough parking spaces, we need to at least begin to address that," Muller said. "I'm just trying to address the issues that are out there and make us a little bit better."

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