By Terry Dean
Minority enrollment in District 97 is down a full percentage point this school year, according to enrollment data released Nov. 30 by the district.
The .9-percent drop this year was the biggest decline in percentage since 2001. Officials said the economy may be a factor in the decline, not only affecting Oak Park's public schools but likely private schools as well. Overall, the district's enrollment is approximately 5,506 students for the 2010-2011 school year, up from 5,467 last year. The increase is primarily due to the launch of full-day kindergarten district-wide last year, officials said.
Minority enrollment jumped sharply in the '04-'05 school year, increasing to 44.3 percent from 39.5 percent the previous year. Minority representation declined only slightly since then, hovering around 43 percent coming into this year. Minority students now represent 42.4 percent of overall enrollment.