Enrollment at District 91 schools did, or didn’t do, something surprising this year — it didn’t change. Enrollment at this time in 2016 was 820, and 2017 boasts the same number.
Presenting to the school board earlier this month, Louis Cavallo, D91 superintendent, said enrollment for the district had been in decline for about a decade, and this year was the first in what Cavallo hopes that’s a good sign for the future.
“We’re hoping this is the start of a trend upward,” he said.
The declining enrollment numbers were not a surprise for anyone in the district, Cavallo said. A 10-year-old study had predicted that student populations would go down. The study looked specifically at factors like birth rates and housing. He said this was the first year the study hadn’t been spot-on.
The decline aligned with U.S. Census data from 2010 (the most recent year available), which showed only 23 percent — around 3,000 people — in Forest Park were under 20 years old.
The latest enrollment figures do not include students in the district’s preschool program, just children attending kindergarten through eighth grade at Betsy Ross Primary Elementary School, Garfield Primary Elementary, Field-Stevenson Intermediate Elementary, Grant-White Intermediate Elementary, and Forest Park Middle School.
Cavallo told the board that they also saw an uptick this year in enrollment for students who live outside of the district — a total of 24 students have been investigated so far — but he said a number of those students do actually belong in the district.
“That does not account for the 50 kids we have that we didn’t expect,” he said.