An enrollment planning consultant hired by School District 65 forecasts a dramatic drop in enrollment in the school system over the next 10 years.

The report, from consultant Charles Kofron, projects — in its mid-range forecast — that enrollment will decline by nearly 13% over the next five years and, by 10 years from now, will be down 29% from current levels.

The study looks at potential enrollment in all of the district’s attendance area schools as if all District 65 students who lived within the boundaries of each one went to that school.

Thus it ignores the enrollment shifts created by students choosing to attend the two magnet schools or switch to a special program at a different neighborhood school.

Kofron also presented high and low range forecasts for future enrollments. For the 2031-32 school year his high enrollment forecast anticipates a 13% decline from this year’s level. His low enrollment forecast sees a 43% decline for 2031-32 from current levels.

Projecting the next five years of elementary school enrollments is relatively straightforward — because the students who would be part of those class years have already been born.

Forecasts further into the future require making additional assumptions about general population trends and birth rates, which can be impacted by a wide range of factors — including the decisions couples make about having children based on major world events — like a pandemic.

The enrollment projections are an important factor in District 65’s student assignment planning process now underway. That analysis is scheduled to lead to recommendations to the school board in March.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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