D65 projects slight enrollment decline

King Arts, one of the schools for which enrollment is expected to decline.

Enrollment for Evanston School District 65 is projected to be relatively flat for the next five years according to an administration report to the school board on Monday.

The report forecasts a 1.6 percent enrollment decline, or a loss of 118 students from 7,553 students in 2019-20 to 7,430 in 2023-24.

This estimate falls within the margin of error for the study, which is more than two percent year to year and five percent over a five-year period.

As of now enrollment is 7,422, 122 students or 1.6 percent less than the 7,548 that had been projected for this year.

But Kylie Klein, director of research, accountability and data, says the district tends to see increases in enrollment during the course of the school year. “If we used the actuals for this early point in the year, we might wind up overestimating,” she said.

“The error rates are relatively small between the actual and projected year over year so we feel confident in the projections,” she added.

“Last year we projected 7,546 students but had just 7,482 at the time we reported enrollment,” an over-projection of 65 students. “This year we have an over projection of 126 students,” he said.

“We think this is another indicator of a slightly declining enrollment, but not significantly declining and not enough to impact planning,” he said.

Projected enrollment changes apply unevenly across schools in the district, with increases expected at Dawes, Dewey, Lincoln, Oakton, Orrington and Washington elementary schools and Haven Middle School.

Enrollment is projected to decrease at Kingsley, Lincolnwood, Walker and Willard elementary schools, Chute and Nichols middle schools, and King Arts and Rhodes magnet schools.

The district calculates enrollment projections using a straight-line projection methodology, in which the numbers of students at each grade level are rolled forward to the next grade and fifth graders are assigned to their feeder middle schools. Kindergarten enrollments are estimated using a five year rolling average.

Enrollment projection accuracy can be affected by various factors including birth rates, residential construction/demolition, family mobility, families opting for private schools or homeschooling and changes in the economy.

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