GROWTH OR FLUKE? ... Seventy-six new students have enrolled in Palo Alto schools with a start date of Jan. 7 — the first day back after winter break. Last year that number was 42. "This is a 60 percent increase," noted Cathy Mak, the school district's business officer. Officials keep a close watch on enrollment numbers as they try to match new classroom space with the anticipated number of students. Luckily, Mak said, most of the newcomers will be accommodated in their neighborhood schools. However, "due to the number of new third-grade registrations, we have increased some of the classes to 24 to one" teacher. Before, the ratio was 23 students per teacher.
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