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U-46 enrollment report summarized at meeting

By Seth Hancock
  Enrollment dropped by 533 students to a total of 36,090 in 2021-2022 in School District U-46 according to data presented to the Board of Education on Nov. 1.
  Brian Lindholm, chief of staff, said the numbers were as of Sept. 29. This is the seventh straight year of enrollment declines as the district has lost 10.9 percent in enrollment since 40,487 in 2014.
  Last year, the district lost 1,391 students and Lindholm said “many families scrambled to make other arrangements for their students” because of distance learning, but this year is “more in line with the declines that we’ve been experiencing in recent years.”
  Lindholm said the state lost over 70,000 students overall. He said declining birth rates since 2006 and the EMSA charter school, which he estimated has 350 students now, attributes to the downward enrollment trend.
  Census data showed that 90 percent of Illinois communities’ lost population and population has declined annually for seven years, polling showing that high taxation has contributed to many leaving.
  Lindholm said the district projected enrollment to continue declining to a “new normal” of an average of 2,500 students per class for a total enrollment in the low 30,000s.
  State data was presented earlier in the meeting showing U-46 enrollment at 35,958. Lindholm said: “This is fairly typical as we report our data up to the state and they do their own categorizing of enrollments by program, by demographic. So, there’s usually some reconciling.”
  Total high school enrollment was the only level that saw an increase at 184 students, 12,217 to 12,401. South Elgin (160), Elgin (51) and Larkin (30) all saw increases but Streamwood lost 14 students and Bartlett 10.
  Elementary lost 545 students, 17,540 to 16,995, with 29 schools losing students and nine with losses greater than 30, Elgin’s Hilltop and Hoffman Estate’s Timber Trails each losing 48 to top the list. Wayne saw the largest growth at 39 new students.
  Middle schools lost 159 students, 5,777 to 5,618, with six of eight losing populations including three over 40, Elgin’s Ellis losing 60. No school saw an increase greater than 40.
  Early childhood dropped by 13 students, 1,089 to 1,076.

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