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ENROLLMENTS DECLINE AT ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS IN PROVO FOR FIRST TIME

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Enrollment in Provo schools is up at the secondary level but has slightly decreased at the elementary level, 1989-90 school district figures show.

That decrease may be welcome in the elementary schools where some classes have 40 or more students, but Superintendent Jim Bergera said the decrease probably won't last for long."I suspect that while there is a decrease at the present time at the elementary level, we may see that as just a lull. If you look at our history, within a year or two we will probably have another increase in kindergarten classes and thus in elementary grades."

Enrollment in secondary schools is up by 266 students while elementary school enrollment is down 88 students. Provo Board of Education members were apprised of the figures during the monthly meeting this week.

Student populations at nearly all the elementary schools have decreased this year. Westridge, Edgemont, Provost, Rock Canyon and Wasatch have been the only schools where populations have increased. The other sEven elementary schools are down.

In the past eight years, enrollment for kindergarten through 12th grade has increased every year, but the amount of increase continues to get smaller, said Kathy Luke, elementary education curriculum director.

"Kindergarten enrollment has decreased slightly for the past four years, but this is the first time the total elementary enrollment has decreased," Bergera said.

The district's largest number of students has been in the primary grades for the past few years, but as they work their way to the middle and high schools, enrollment figures begin to change, he said.

"I think we will see a large increase in middle schools during the 1991-92 school year - larger than we see at the present time," Bergera said.

This year's kindergarten-through-12th-grade enrollment increased only 178, instead of the typical 200-plus figure experienced in recent years. In the 1987-88 school year, the student body population increased by a high of 502.

Kindergarten enrollment in the district peaked at 1,244 in 1985-86 but has been decreasing since then. This year's class of 1,108 is down 38 from last year.

District officials expect kindergarten enrollment to increase slightly next year, but in the 1991-92 school year they project one of the lowest enrollments ever - 1,062 kindergarteners. The projections are based on a 1988 survey.

Figures presented to the board will be used to plan for future needs in the district.

"We will have to evaluate the space we have and develop a plan to accommodate the students," Bergera said.

Farrer Middle School was remodeled last year to add more classroom and cafeteria space. Dixon Middle School is being remodeled and when it is finished next fall will have seven additional classrooms.

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(Additional information)

Kindergarten less crowded

The number of students entering Provo elementary schools is decreasing slightly, as evidenced by declining kindergarten enrollment.

1985-86 1,244

1988-89 1,145

1989-90 1,108

1991-92 1,062

Projection