The number of students enrolled in Ashland schools has increased for the first time in 11 years, district officials announced.

The number of students enrolled in Ashland schools has increased for the first time in 11 years, district officials announced.

The district had 83 more students enrolled than last year as of last Monday — and 114 more than analysts had predicted.

Superintendent Juli Di Chiro called the report "very good news" for the district, which has struggled with the financial fallout of declining enrollment for the past decade.

"We're very happy to see that our numbers are where they are," she told the School Board. "It's looking good on all fronts."

As of last Monday, 2,867 students were enrolled in the district — 3 percent more than last year.

Every grade level has more students this year than last year, said Jill Turner, the district's business manager.

District officials are especially pleased that enrollment in kindergarten rose 51 percent this year to 177 students, from 117 students last year.

A sharp decline in enrollment forced the district to close Briscoe Elementary School in 2003 and Lincoln Elementary School in 2005.

— Ashland Daily Tidings