A consulting firm’s report says many Evanston/Skokie School District 65 school buildings are operating far below capacity.

And the excess capacity issue will become even more severe if enrollment forecasts from another consultant come true.

The capacity and utilization report from consultants Cordogan Clark sets a goal of having enrollment in elementary school buildings at 85% of the building’s capacity, middle schools at 80% of capacity and specialty programs, like the district’s two magnet schools, at 75% of capacity.

Using that standard, only the district’s three middle schools, plus the pre-school center at the Hill administration building, are over their utilization goals.

As Evanston Now reported Monday, Charles Kofron, a consultant the district hired to create enrollment projections for the next 10 years, anticipates in his mid-range forecast an enrollment decline of nearly 13% over the next five years and that, by 10 years from now, enrollment will be down 29% from current levels.

To make his projections, Kofron grouped students by the neighborhood school attendance area they live in — eliminating the district’s magnet schools from his calculations.

Layering his enrollment forecasts on Cordogan Clark’s building utilization goals, it appears that while eliminating the magnet schools would create capacity problems now, those capacity issues would largely disappear by 2031-32 if Kofron’s mid-range forecast comes true.

District 65 is in the midst of an extensive student assignment planning process. That analysis is scheduled to lead to recommendations to the school board in March which may include realigning school attendance boundaries.

Here are maps of the district’s current attendance area boundaries.

The elementary school attendance area map.
The middle school attendance area map.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. I’ve heard that there is a waiting list of 200 at St. A’s. The same is likely true at Pope John. Quality education is self sustaining during challenging times. I heard in the sauna at the health club from a parent in Northwest Evanston that Lincolnwood Elementary has lost a whole classroom of kids. Many moved out of Evanston to find better school options. We need to be willing to talk openly and not talk around the issues we face in our community. Accountability was a subject that this young man mentioned to me. My kids are grown and not in the system but honestly, there are some structural problems that no one wants to talk about.

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