BALTIMORE — Maryland public school systems began reopening Wednesday, Aug. 19, as a record number of students across the state prepare to start the 2015-16 academic year.

By the time all schools open their doors Sept. 9, more than 865,000 kindergarten through grade 12 students will fill classrooms and another 250,000 children will be involved in some form of pre-kindergarten, Head Start or licensed childcare program, according to a news release from the Maryland State Department of Education.

Enrollment in Maryland public schools appears primed to break the record of 869,113 students, set in 2004, MSDE said. 

Also on the rise in the state’s schools is the percentage of students coming from poverty, according to the news release. Last year, 50.4 percent of Maryland elementary students were eligible for free or reduced meals. Ten years earlier, that total was 37.1 percent, the MSDE said.

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