DENHAM SPRINGS — More students than expected showed up for the first day of school in Livingston Parish, but there were no major hiccups, officials said Friday.
School system officials had expected about a 300-student increase over last year’s first-day numbers, but said Friday the numbers were up by approximately 450 students.
Even with the extra students, the first day of classes went “very smoothly,” said Assistant Superintendent Thomas Cothern.
The total number of students in the school system as of Friday was about 25,100, but that number will fluctuate, he said.
Not all of the students started Friday. Kindergarten and pre-kindergarten students will start next week, though they are counted in the 25,100 total, he said.
Southside Elementary, Principal Laura Williams said she expects about 470 students, including kindergarten and pre-kindergarten enrollees.
Melissa Doughtery, who is in her first year as principal at Gray’s Creek Elementary south of Denham Springs, said things had gone well on the first day.
Doughtery said about 480 kids are enrolled at the school
Both principals said they were monitoring the heat, and would make decisions about whether to allow students outside on a case-by-case basis.
Faculty morale was high at both schools, despite the School Board’s decision to cut annual pay increases, known as step raises, and shorten the work year by three days, both principals said.
“The teachers told me ‘We’re good, we’re happy with it,’ ” Doughtery said. “So morale is good.”
The School Board has closed a $10 million budget shortfall for this year, but doesn’t expect to have to lay off teachers, officials have said.