Wake County schools counted 131,621 students as classes started Monday, an increase of 3.3 percent over attendance on the first day of school last year.
That increase is short of the school district's projected enrollment this year of 139,247 students, but the number of students attending Wake schools is likely to rise in coming weeks.
Last year, enrollment rose from 127,352 on the first day of school to 134,002 on the 20th day -- a jump of more than 5 percent. A similar increase would have to take place this year for enrollment to meet projected levels.
In recent years, the gap between projected enrollment and actual attendance has been a bone of contention with Wake commissioners who base their annual budget contribution to the state's largest school district on those predictions.
This year's first-day attendance included 65,270 elementary students, 29,502 middle school students, 36,591 high school students and 258 other students.
Wake school officials were unable to provide the numbers on Monday because they did not have reports from all 156 schools in the system.