Enrollment flat in River Forest elementary schools

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By Deb Kadin

Contributing Reporter

Enrollment at Willard and Lincoln schools is projected to decline this year while it rises ever so slightly at Roosevelt Middle School, according to projections provided by River Forest's District 90 elementary schools.

Enrollment, which could go up in kindergarten, first and third grades at Willard just before schools open in August, reflects a continuing stable school population in River Forest, said Supt. Edward Condon.

Over the past five years, district enrollment has ranged from a high of 1,354 in the 2010 school year to 1,333 last year, according to projections determined for the district by John Kasarda, a renowned demographer out of the University of North Carolina.

"We hoped we might be seeing some increase in enrollment, given that the real estate market had been more active over the last several years," Condon said.

The number of pupils at Lincoln is projected to be 382, just a shade under what it was last year. More than 80 pupils are anticipated in second grade, an increase of 15 over last year. The rest of the school population is anticipated to remain relatively equal to what it was last year, according to District 90 figures.

The steepest drop in enrollment is anticipated at Willard, which will go from 323 pupils last year to 286 this year. One section of third grade and a half-day section of kindergarten might not be needed. District figures show that the kindergarten population will drop from 47 to 35, although officials may see a few more youngsters once enrollment has concluded by the end of the summer. The second grade population is declining from 66 last year to 50 this year; fourth grade projections show a drop from 89 last year to 72 this year. The first grade population remains the same at 49, but district officials expect class sizes to grow over the summer.

Roosevelt will go from a school population of 630 last year to 660 this year, with the largest increase coming from a growth in sixth grade; 176 students will be enrolled for the fall, up from 156 last year.

Kindergarten through second grade will have as many as 22 students in each class; third through fourth grade will maintain the range of 19 to 24. Fifth through eighth grade will have between 22 and 27 students in each class, Condon said.

The class sizes are ideal allowing teachers to "really get to know their students and know their needs," Condon said.

Condon noted the buildings are able to manage the relative small discrepancies in enrollment. There is no indication that additional staff will be needed for next year, although Condon said the district would be providing adequate staff to meet enrollment needs at varying grades.

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Posted: July 8th, 2013 3:38 PM

I've had three kids in OP middle schools in the past five years, and none had classes bigger than the low 20s.


Posted: July 5th, 2013 2:54 PM

@ audence. yes, in fact no one said growth is good. OP suffers from overcrowding at middle schools (as many as 32-35 students per class). As long as schools stay at levels to keep employment steady, this is a good thing.

Auden from River Forest  

Posted: July 5th, 2013 2:47 PM

You could also look at this as a positive situation - more money for fewer students, assuming property tax revenues remain the same.


Posted: July 5th, 2013 12:47 PM

Sorry if the comment cam across as snarky. Just wanted to provide a perspective on why growth is down. your arguement regarding number of houses may also be a factor. Bottom line, if incrementatl growth is brown children and your base is not brown kids, your marginal rate of growth will slow (dx/dy) very simple analysis


Posted: July 5th, 2013 12:22 PM

@ OP"s posting on July 4th, 2013 @ 3:31 PM The opportunity to slight a nearby community in order to make yourself feel better is obvious, so I think you're an Oak Parker. Using the word "better" in your comment negates any objectivity. This data, like ALL other data, can be interpreted in more than one way. For example, Oak Park has many more residences available for "browning" when the white liberals move to RF because they really don't want "browning" right in "their backyard."


Posted: July 4th, 2013 3:31 PM

Little suprise giving the changing demography and browning of america. RF is not very diverse (much better than 20 years ago) and most population growth is hispanic/black and asian. Secondly, RF has not had the generational turnover OP had so fewer new /oung families. OP is growing for the inverse reasons. Peace

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