VILONIA — The word used by officials to describe the first day of school in the Vilonia School District was "smooth."

"I’m feeling good," said Dr. Frank Mitchell, superintendent, adding that he had received only a few phone calls. "There were no major glitches."

Also, he said, he is feeling optimistic that the first football game on Sept. 3, will be played on new turf at the field if the rain will allow the turf to be placed Monday.

Officials from around the district also weighed in on the day referring to it as a smooth start. 

"Everybody was ready and the day went smooth," said Jim Binam, principal at Vilonia Junior High School. On the first day, he reported a student population of 444. Binam anticipates the numbers at the junior high, however, may increase another 20 or so students within a couple of weeks. 

There weren’t a lot of changes in the staff at most of the schools. There are four new teachers at the high school, according to principal Ed Sellers. There were no surprises, he said, with the population. Reporting 651 students checking in Monday, it remained about the same, he said, as it was at school’s end. The junior class, he added, has the largest population with 235 students. 

Principal Cathy Riggins reported "growth across the board" at the Middle School with a population of 709 students.

"We were ready for the growth though," she said. "We’ve had a great day."

The numbers at Vilonia Elementary were about the same as last year with 643 students, said Julie Binam, principal. One of the most noticeable changes at the school, she said, may be the job title on her name tag. This year, she is the principal. She has worked at the school for the past five years serving as assistant principal.  

With a student population Monday of 543, "it’s the most students Vilonia Primary has ever had." said Carla McBay, secretary.

"Kindergarten, second- and fourth-grade are at the max," she added. "We are up over 60 students." 

Even with the population growth, though she described the day as going "smooth."

An estimated population on the first day of school in the district was about 2,990 students. 

"I think we will end up with about 30 students over the end of last year. If there is more that is good,"  Mitchell concluded. 

He also said that he may have to add an additional teacher.