Let learning begin: Classes begin in Treasure Valley school districts

They came with smiles and brightly colored backpacks. They met some friends they knew and got ready to make new friends.

More than 70,000 students returned to class in West Ada, Boise, Vallivue and Kuna school districts Monday.

Record breaker: The West Ada School District, the state’s largest, set a record with a preliminary enrollment of 37,766 students this year, up from 36,523 last opening day. West Ada hasn’t seen much of a year-over-year increase since 2008-09, spokesman Eric Exline said .

District officials expect the numbers will drop by about 250 over the next several days, leaving a net increase of about 1,000.

Slight decline: The Boise School District’s preliminary enrollment was about 25,324, down from 25,474 on opening day last year. Superintendent Don Coberly said the kindergarten class dropped from 1,756 to 1,704. First-grade enrollment also fell.

Coberly said declining birth rates during the recession are a likely reason.