By Terry Dean
Enrollment at District 97 is expected to increase by roughly 300 kids over the next five years with overall enrollment reaching just over 6,000 students.
That's according to projections by the district's research firm, Ehlers and Associates, a company based in Lisle. The firm conducted an enrollment study in 2011 for both D97 and Oak Park and River Forest High School showing enrollment increasing in both districts. The firm's latest D97 study, released this week, shows enrollment there increasing by 300 students by 2018.
Kindergarten remains the driving force for the steady uptick in enrollment, according to the firm's findings. D97 officials expected such a trend when the district moved to an all-day kindergarten program in 2009.
D97's current enrollment is about 5,800 students. Prior to the launch of full-day K, enrollment hovered around 5,000 students. By 2018, enrollment is projected at 6,041 students, according to Ehlers. The firm's data shows an enrollment jump of about 100 students for the upcoming school year.
The largest overall increases in the next five years are expected at Brooks and Julian middle schools. By 2018, each school is projected to top just over 1,000, the highest enrollment ever for either building since construction in 2002. Julian's current enrollment is about 900 students and for Brooks roughly 880.
Some of the elementary schools should also expect more students between now and 2018.
Holmes School, whose current enrollment is about 517 students, is expected to grow to 550 by 2018. Longfellow, with a current student body of 667 kids, is projected to have just over 700 students in 2018. Beye is expected to experience a slight increase to 449 students, up from 422 students currently. Irving over the next five years will see its enrollment increase to 550 kids, up from 490 students now.
The other elementary schools are expected to maintain their levels, though Mann School is projected to decrease to 464 students compared to 504 students enrolled this past school year.
The full Ehlers and Associates report is available at D97's website.