Kindergarten registration is getting started a month earlier than usual this year, primarily due to a larger number of students expected in Missoula public schools. 

Director of Communications for MCPS, Hatton Littman, said the classes are continuing to grow in size throughout the elementary and secondary schools.

"Keep in mind that this current year, we had to make adjustments to students in eight of nine of our elementary schools to find locations to fit all of our elementary students in our current buildings," Littman said. "We're getting an early start this year on March 9, to make sure we're able to plan ahead for those new kindergartners."

Littman said the number of students signals the need for the upcoming bond issue to pass, so that newer, bigger schools can be built,

"Our current class of fifth-grade students is probably the smallest size we're going to see for the next decade," she said. "We anticipate that our facilities will be maxed out within the next two years, especially in the elementary, so that's why we've been planning ahead to present a bod issue to the taxpayers this November and expand those facilities. The fact is, that by 2023, we're going to have over 900 more students in our schools."

The bond issue is expected to ask voters for more than $150 million for new schools.

Littman said those who wish to register their kindergartners may do so for the first time online.

"You can start that process by visiting our website, or you can stop by your neighborhood school and pick up the paper-based forms and stat the process," she said. "

MCPS elementary schools include Chief Charlo, Cold Springs, Franklin, Hawthorne, Lewis and Clark, Lowell, Paxson, Rattlesnake and Russell.