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West's enrollment up slightly

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By Don Pace

West Las Vegas schools have 37 more students than they did last year, according to Superintendent Jim Abreu.

It’s a different story on the east side, where a 127-student decline was recently reported.

At a West School Board meeting last week, Abreu was pleased to report the increase, but board member Kenny Lujan asked for the matter to be tabled until the next regular meeting — “because I would like to see it (increased numbers) by classrooms,” Lujan said.

“Would you like to see the increase in enrollment from last year to this year?” Abreu asked. Lujan said that would be OK

“We had 1,627 last year (and) right now we have 1,664, an increase of 37 students," Abreu said.

Lujan and fellow board member David Romero asked if the superintendent had projected the increase.

“I think we’re a little over our projection, but we are happy we’re at this point right now. When I first came in in May 2007, I told you we had been dropping in enrollment, and if you give me three years I will try to level it off, and start bringing it back up. I’m starting my third year now, and I’m happy to report those numbers.

“I can’t tell you why, and your guess would be as good as mine, but I think we have been doing good things at West Las Vegas, and the word is getting out,” Abreu said.

“Kids are staying, and new students are coming mainly because we are doing good things, and that’s the main thing I can say about that, Mr. Lujan.” Abreu said.

Romero said, “I know he (Lujan) wants to table it, but I have a concern over classes that are too large. If classrooms are too full then teachers can’t pay full attention to each student in the classroom.”

Abreu said for whatever reason, the fact that more kids are attending the West Las School district is a good sign and if, down the line, that also means hiring more teachers, the increased student population would be a  plus, not a minus.