At 7:30 a.m., the halls at Murrayville Elementary mimic a tiny city. Backpack-laden students flow in all directions, with teachers stationed along the way to direct and redirect as needed.
The morning routine looks like a practiced process – so smooth, in fact, that the casual observer wouldn't notice a few extra feet in the mix than in years past.
Murrayville is seeing a bigger student body for the 2012-13 school year. But it's not the only one. Student enrollment is up in Southeastern North Carolina – and it's up a lot. So far, each district has grown more this year than it did in any of the past five years. After 20 days of school, Brunswick County enrollment has grown by 3.01 percent, while Pender County is seeing a 1.13 percent increase. New Hanover County claims the biggest jump, with a 3.65 percent increase over last year.
Compare that to the change between the 2010-11 and 2011-12 school years. New Hanover increased just 1.26 percent, while Pender and Brunswick both had decreases of tenths of a percentage.