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FALL ENROLLMENT INCREASES MORE THAN PROJECTED

With final fall enrollment figures for the Williamsville Central School District showing yet another increase, higher than the one anticipated for the year, the district is now 360 students over its total class capacity, officials said.

Of the district's 13 schools, nine are exceeding program capacity levels, the measure used by the district to determine the number of students that can be accommodated in each program, or class, offered by a school.

Class capacity is a different measurement than that used to judge student safety, and the district is in no way exceeding the capacity levels set by local fire departments, said district spokeswoman Jacqueline Paone.

Henry Peters, assistant superintendent for education and student services, said the final figures show that four schools -- Country Parkway Elementary School, Transit Middle School, East High School, and South High School -- are more than 100 students above class capacity.

Of the four, the most overcrowded is Transit Middle School, which has an enrollment of 1,110 pupils, or 72 more than last year, Peters said. The jump in numbers puts Transit 160 pupils over its determined capacity level for class size, he said.

"Looking at these four schools, you can see that things are tight, and we need to be looking down the road at what we'll do," Peters said. "The School Board needs to look at staffing and class size and all the things that are tangential to these issues."

According to district figures, Country Parkway Elementary School is 107 pupils over capacity, East High School is 131 students over capacity, and South High School is 127 students over capacity.

Total enrollment in the district this year is 10,699, according to final figures.

District officials had earlier projected an enrollment of 10,658 for the year, a figure still higher than the 1996-97 enrollment of 10,618 students and the 1995-96 figure of 10,547 students.

Superintendent Ann B. Fuqua said that she would shortly be bringing before the School Board a proposal to add an administrative assistant to the overcrowded Transit Middle School this year.

"We'd like to come back to you with a recommendation about the needs out there," she told board members. "We've talked to the administrators out there, and there is a need for an administrative assistant."

Transit, like the district's other middle schools, currently has a principal and an assistant principal, said Ms. Paone. Last year, all the middle schools also had part-time administrative assistants, but those positions were cut during budget negotiations last spring, she said.

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