For inner suburbs, a surge in young students

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Philip Kramer cannot say enough good things about Brookline — the convenience of being able to walk and bike nearly everywhere, the public transportation, the vibrancy of Coolidge Corner, and, particularly, the public schools.

“Unless you want a much more suburban or exurban experience, this is an incredibly attractive place,” said Kramer, an architect whose 11-year-old daughter attends Brookline’s Pierce School. “That’s why I’m here.”

He’s in plenty of company. A surge in enrollment — particularly at the lower grades — has Brookline scrambling for space, with a key panel urging last week that the town expand its high school and some of its kindergarten-through-Grade 8 schools, with the estimated cost ranging from $150 million to $300 million.

But it is not just Brookline that is attracting young families. Several communities just outside Boston are experiencing an enrollment boom at the elementary level that is straining the limits of both classrooms and budgets. Conversely, children appear to be draining out of numerous suburban districts farther from Boston.

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