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Drop in student population reported

There are 7,366 students attending Niagara Falls public schools, a 193-student drop from the 2007-08 school year.

Student population in the district has dropped by 286 students during the past two years, from 7,652 in 2006-07.

Mark R. Laurrie, administrator on special assignment, revealed the school population during a report on the new school year that he delivered during a meeting of the School Board last week.

Laurrie said 302 city pupils attend Niagara Charter School this year, up by 32 from last year. He attributed the increase to the addition of a sixth grade at the two-year-old facility.

The board also was told that the district employs 579 teachers: 187 classroom teachers at the elementary level and 158 at the secondary level, and 234 special subject teachers, such as art, music and special education.

Laurrie said the number of special-education students remained the same as last year, 1,405. He said, however, that the number of students receiving occupational therapy this year increased by 26, to 251, and that those receiving speech therapy increased 28, to 566.

He told the board that 65 pupils made perfect scores on state assessment tests either in English Language Arts, mathematics or both last year -- up from 63 in 2006-07.

There are 86 students enrolled in the district's English as a Second Language classes, up by eight from last year. Two students attend the city's schools and pay tuition because they live outside the district. Twenty pupils are home schooled, and 79 are taught at home by city teachers for a variety of reasons.

Laurrie added that a large number of students eat free or reduced-cost breakfast and lunch at school. Laurrie said 1,321 eat breakfast at school on a daily basis and 4,819 have lunch under the federal lunch program.

The district buses 2,784 students to school a day, including 901 to elementary schools. It also buses 200 disabled students and 17 universal prekindergarten pupils.

This year, Niagara Falls High School offers 15 Advanced Placement courses, compared with 11 last year. World history, statistics, psychology and environmental science have been added to the college-level list of options, Laurrie said.


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