In what was termed the first of many cuts, the Alexandria School Board last week approved the elimination of 19 courses at the high school, junior high and elementary levels. At the same time, the board approved the addition of three high school courses.

Superintendent Robert W. Peebles warned the board that budget constrictions required that the curriculum be evaluated and pared down. At the high school level, students can choose from about 250 courses.

"There are several things which are very clear, and one is that our economic situation is very severe," Peebles said. "A continuous response to student requests has, in some cases, resulted in a proliferation of courses where there are no takers."

Most of the classes that were cut had few or not students enrolled during the past two years.

Although the board unanimously approved all but one of the requested cuts -- advanced calculus was not eliminated -- board members expressed hesitation about moving hastily and asked if lack of student interest, particularly in creative writing courses, were more a function of students not being encouraged to take the classes rather than a genuine lack of interest.

Among those classes added were an advanced high school computer science class, a comprehensive choir program and a nursing assistant course.

Courses eliminated: High school -- social seminar, creative writing, math 9, plain and solid geometry, beginning choir, intermediate choir, advanced choir (the choir classes will be replaced with one comprehensive course), music history, home furnishings, marriage and family life, business english, medical unit secretary, marketing. Junior High -- creative writing, life cycles, math and computers 1 and 2, speech 1. Elementary -- music for fourth graders.