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The first school bell of the year was heard Wednesday at the Mumford Independent School District.
Students were greeted by familiar faces and new ones. Twenty percent of the entire student body is new.
"It is wonderful to be back and it's always exciting to be here on the first day," Mumford Superintendent Pete Bienski said.
But this year Bienski has something else to be excited out. In late July, the Mumford Independent School District won a yearlong battle over student transfers from Hearne.
"It is just a good feeling," Bienski said. "Parents are excited and it's just great to have all of this behind us."
Mumford currently has a student body population of 515 students, 90 of those students are attending Mumford for the first time.
"Everybody you talk to says it is a great school," parent Zaneta Velero said. "I know several people who attend this school and work here and they say wonderful things."
Velero commutes from Benchley, just so her four-year-old son can attend Mumford.
"This is where I wanted my son to start off and finish," Velero said. "It was no problem getting him in."
Mumford is continuing to accept students into grades that are not full.
"It's just a better school," parent Efraim Conde said. "I went to Hearne and I wanted her to come over here and get a better education."
First-time students usually comprise five percent of the student body. This year that number jumped to 20 percent.
"We have students that are coming to us from all the surrounding areas including Hearne and Calvert," Bienski said. "We have several students that are coming from Bryan and some of the other areas as well."
Bienski says about 60 percent of new students are from Hearne. In 2005, a judge ruled in Hearne's favor after the school district complained that too many white students were leaving Hearne for Mumford, costing the school district thousands of dollars in state funding.
The appeals court found no evidence supporting the claim, and transfer students were allowed to stay in Mumford.
"They learn and they have great teachers," parent Stephaney Jetson said.
And it's those qualities that may have even more students transferring into Mumford. Bienski says if the enrollment spike continues Mumford could expand.
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