Quantcast

Schools seek guidance on enrollment growth

The School District 65 board — concerned about upward trends in enrollment at several schools — has voted to hire consultants to study local population trends and the capacity of its school buildings.

The Evanston/Skokie school board voted Monday to spend $55,000 to have Arcon Associates, the district’s architectural firm, measure room sizes in the district’s 17 school buildings and calculate enrollment capacities for each of them.

It also voted to spend $23,000 to hire two firms to collaborate on a study of population trends in the community.

Those consultants are John D. Kasarda, who runs a demographic consulting firm based in Chapel Hill, N.C. that has conducted 200 demographic studies including at least 16 for Chicago area school districts, and Valerie Krechmer, an Evanston-based consultant on real estate and planning issues.

Projections prepared by the district’s information technology director, Paul Brinson, show enrollment increasing 6.5 percent by the 2013-14 school year, based on the size of classes already in the schools.

But 80 percent of the projected net increase in kindergarten through 5th grade enrollment is expected at the six neighborhood schools north of Dempster Street, while some other schools are expected to show enrollment declines.

And the projected increase may not be the sign of a long-term trend. Kindergarten enrollments at all of the six north-side schools are projected to be slightly lower in 2013-14 than they are today.

Earlier this year when board members discussed the enrollment issue they had difficulty reaching consensus on whether they should expand several schools, build one new school — possibly a replacement for the former Foster School on Evanston’s west side — or try to juggle attendance boundaries and magnet school enrollments to avoid having to launch a major building program.

Related story

Schools challenged by enrollment growth

Editors’ Picks