Student enrollment in Evanston/Skokie District 65 schools continued to decline this year.

Figures released by the Illinois State Board of Education Monday morning show enrollment is down 5% from last year and more than 20% since 2018.

Statewide, public school enrollment has declined 7% since 2018.

In District 65 the racial breakdown of the student population has changed as follows since 2018:

  • White students decreased from 42.8% of all students to 40.5%.
  • Black students increased from 22.5% to 23%.
  • Hispanic students increased from 20.6% to 21.8%.
  • Asian students decreased from 4.7% to 4.6%.
  • Multi-racial students increased from 9.2% to 9.9%.

A District 65 enrollment projection issued in January forecast a slightly larger drop in 2023 enrollment than indicated by the state data.

It forecast that Kindergarten through 8th grade enrollment for this school year would be 6,019 — compared to the 6,080 shown in the state data released Monday.

The district’s forecast also predicts enrollment declines will continue, but at a slower pace, for the next several years.

The ISBE data shows that some schools have suffered much sharper enrollment declines since 2018 than others.

SchoolEnrollment 2018Enrollment 2022Enrollment 2023Change since 2018Change since 2022
Chute Middle School589579540-8.32%-6.74%
Haven Middle School836775675-19.26%-12.90%
Nichols Middle School725679649-10.48%-4.42%
Dawes Elementary School380311315-17.11%1.29%
Dewey Elem School509379348-31.63%-8.18%
Lincoln Elem School523400410-21.61%2.50%
Lincolnwood Elem School405327309-23.70%-5.50%
Oakton Elem School406369370-8.87%0.27%
Orrington Elem School418269255-39.00%-5.20%
Walker Elem School3633843773.86%-1.82%
Washington Elem School558482448-19.71%-7.05%
Willard Elem School509410367-27.90%-10.49%
Dr ML King Jr Literary & Fine Arts Sch541431402-25.69%-6.73%
Kingsley Elementary School390342324-16.92%-5.26%
Dr Bessie Rhodes Sch Global Studies341279275-19.35%-1.43%
Joseph E Hill Education Center350228236-32.57%3.51%
Source: ISBE School Report Cards

Shrinking enrollments at certain elementary schools may make them likely targets for closure as the school board tries to balance its budget and achieve its newly revised goal of building a new 600-student K-5 school in the 5th Ward.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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