By ABC-7 Reporter Ashlie Rodriguez
Student registration at Socorro Independent School District is booming, taking administrators and teachers by surprise.
Linda Hitter's third grade class at Horizon Heights Elementary is at capacity. But she said she's not intimidated by the record breaking registration numbers.
"I'm a teacher and I come in ready to teach whether I have 22 kids or whether I have five kids," Hitter said.
Forty-five thousand students are expected to attend Socorro Independent School District's 43 campuses this year, up from 43, 500 last year.
"We love the growth," said SISD Interim Superintendent Pat O'Neill.
Socorro ISD is now the second largest district in the county, surpassing Ysleta's 43,000.
The reason behind the area's growth is the same reason behind the area's new housing construction. East El Paso's affordable neighborhoods are attracting families and soldiers from Fort Bliss.
"Overcrowded means you don't have room for anymore students and we do have rooms," O'Neill said.
Interim Superintendent Pat O'Neill says Socorro ISD has strategies to help deal with the heavy population including multi-track programs, adjusting boundaries and transporting students to less crowded schools outside of their neighborhood.
"Those parents who have students that were overflowed -- at first it was disconcerting for them. But once they get to their new campus, they're so happy that when given the opportunity to return, many, many times they choose to stay," O'Neill said.
A parent said he's satisfied with his grandson's elementary and middle school education at Socorro schools.
"The teachers and the administrators on the campus do the best that they can...and I don't think that... its going to hinder the student learning that much," said parent and previous SISD administrator Gregoria Deanda.
Socorro ISD expects the growth to continue, which they'll handle by building two elementary schools in 2015 and completing construction of Eastlake and El Dorado High Schools in 2013 using a $300 million bond approved last year.
For now, teacher like Miss Hitter says classes at capacity aren't affecting student learning.
"We still have everything we need...I have the textbooks, the materials, everything that we need, as far as I need to teach the kids."