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|Enrollment steady in parish schools|
Officials with Ouachita Parish Schools are currently tallying enrollment numbers for the 2008-09 school year.
Superintendent Dr. Bob Webber expects enrollment numbers to be the same as the 2007-08 school year. Approximately 18,645 students were enrolled in parish schools last school year. That figure does not count the parish's pre-kindergarten students.
Personnel director Dr. Don Coker said if the school system counted the pre-kindergarten students, the parish's enrollment figures would be more than 19,000 students.
Final enrollment figures for the 2008-09 school year will be available after Labor Day, Webber said.
So far, Riverbend Elementary has 55 more students over last year; Boley Elementary has 34 more students; and Calhoun Middle has 36 additional students over last year. Those three schools are located in western Ouachita Parish.
"Those are the ones that have grown the most," Webber said. "We hope to be up in all when it's all said and done."
Ouachita Parish Schools saw its biggest enrollment increase during the 2004-05 school year when about 300 students joined the parish school system.
Each school witnessed an increase of 70 students in the 2004-05, and 2005-06, calendar years. The latter was due to families who evacuated during hurricanes Katrina and Rita and remained in Ouachita Parish.
For the past several years, West Ridge Middle School in West Monroe and A.L. Smith Elementary and Sterlington High School have experienced the most growth in the parish school system. School officials expect that trend will remain the same at those three schools for the 2008-09 school year.
Parish schools encountered few problems last week as students returned to classes, Webber said. There were some minor traffic problems at various schools, though.
As part of the normal routine of each school year, school officials called on parents and students to be mindful of traffic concerns created by the start of school. Because of these traffic concerns, school officials say parents and students should leave earlier in the morning.