D65 projects declining enrollment for next 5 years


Daily file photo by Patrick Svitek

The Evanston/Skokie School School District 65 Education Center at 1500 McDaniel Ave. District 65 student enrollment is predicted to decline.

Aviva Bechky, City Editor

Evanston/Skokie School District 65 released predictions in a Tuesday memo showing student enrollment will likely continue declining.

“As we have seen in the past five years, enrollment projections are trending down districtwide and will continue to do so in the next five years,” Sarita Smith, the district manager of student assignments, wrote in the memo.

The district releases these predictions annually. However, since at least the 2018-2019 school year, overall district enrollment has consistently been lower than the projections.

In the memo, Smith said factors like birth rate, family mobility, interest in private schools and economic changes — all of which heightened during the COVID-19 pandemic — can adversely impact enrollment.

She also said that while the district did not see many students return from private school or homeschooling, it did receive an increase in students transferring from Chicago schools. There was also an increase in students who have Individualized Education Programs.

According to the memo, the human resources, finance, student assignment and registration and student service teams are collaborating to create an updated budget based on enrollment projections.

Due in part to declining enrollment, District 65 enacted controversial teacher transfers last spring to eliminate job positions without laying off staff. The district plans to begin another round of transfers this year.

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Twitter: @avivabechky

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