School is back in session and, as NBC Montana found out, there's an overcrowding issue in most of Missoula’s elementary schools.
All of the Missoula schools are dealing with the issue in first and second grades except for Rattlesnake.
"I like my school too much," said Paxston Vinson, a first-grade student at Lewis and Clark Elementary.
He can't imagine going to any other school. He won't have to because he lived in the district for Lewis and Clark elementary last year, but some new students could be sent to other less-crowded schools.
"I'd expect them to go where they are paying taxes at and the school that they are supposed to be at, not sent somewhere halfway across town to another school," said Paxston’s mom, Amanda Vinson.
Vinson knew some schools were overcrowded, but didn't know it was happening at Lewis and Clark Elementary.
The issue is focused on first and second grades district-wide.
There's a state-mandated limit, 20 students per teacher for first and second grade. End up with more than that, and Missoula schools do something officials describe as "leveling."
"We send students to another school close by or to another school somewhere in the district, and we work with families very closely when that happens to make sure that we provide them with some good options," said Hatton Littman, the Director of Technology and Communication with Missoula County Public Schools.
Littman knows students move in and out.
“As soon as space becomes available in their neighborhood school, we always contact them and give them the option if they want to, to come back to their neighborhood school if they want to," said Littman.
NBC Montana asked Littman to break down the extent of the overcrowding. She can't until the dust settles from the first couple of weeks of school, but she knows at least 100 new elementary students moved into district and the numbers will keep rising.
"Our demographers indicate that by the 2016-2017 school year, we could have as many as 900 students in our school district," said Littman.
The district is trying to come up with a solution. Turns out, portable classrooms to handle the overflow may not be it. That's why Littman says the school board's working on a long-term solution -- a big-budget bond that could ease growing pains.
"We're all hoping to see a plan that not only increases space in our district buildings but also touches every single building across our district," said Littman.
For now, some students that would move into school boundaries like Lewis and Clark will have to be bussed.
Click here to learn more about the bond. Littman tells NBC Montana that the bond should get out to voters by April 2015.