Truth squad: Enrollment down in CPS, but not by much

School officials talk about 145,000 fewer kids in the city; actual enrollment decline in CPS since 2000 is 28,289.

December 10, 2012

By Linda Lutton and Becky Vevea

Chicago Public Schools officials have identified 330 schools they say are underutilized, and the city is bracing for what could be a massive number of school closures. Chicago school officials and the head of an independent Commission on School Utilization have said enrollment problems are caused by a loss of 145,000 kids in the city between 2000 and 2010, an 18 percent decline.

But actual declines in Chicago Public Schools enrollment have not been anywhere near that severe.

 

Overall enrollment in Chicago Public Schools has declined 6 percent in the last 14 years, a loss of 28,289 students. In that time, CPS has opened more than 120 new schools, many of them charters, shifting enrollment patterns.  The percentage of students attending traditional schools has dropped 17 percent, while the percentage in charter schools (most housed in non-CPS buildings) has increased. School officials say they have not analyzed whether opening new schools has exacerbated the number of empty desks in Chicago. The district has said it wants to open at least 17 more new schools this fall.
 

    Year        Traditional CPS
     school enrollment     
CPS
   charter/contract  
enrollment

  Total CPS  
   enrollment    

 

2000426,2155,535431,750
2001428,7376,733435,470
2002431,5346,084437,618
2003429,7458,844438,589
2004423,92610,493434,419
2005414,53812,274426,812
2006405,50915,416420,925
2007394,65119,043413,694
2008384,86823,733408,601
2009376,02832,016408,044
2010372,58036,699409,279
2011359,88042,801402,681
2012355,76248,389404,151
2013350,53552,926403,461

Source: Chicago Public Schools. Enrollment data prior to 2006 is from CPS Racial/Ethnic Surveys.
Data from 2006-20013 is from CPS 20th Day Membership files,
both at http://www.cps.edu/SchoolData/Pages/SchoolData.aspx.


U.S. Census figures show Chicago's school-aged population (ages 5-19) declined by 112,300 between 2000 and 2010 (-17.9%). A longer view shows slightly less decline. From 1990 to 2010, Chicago lost 79,140 kids. A greater proportion of the city's children attended Chicago Public Schools in 2010 than 2000.

 199020002010
U.S. Census Bureau population totals
for City of Chicago, Ages 5-19
592,616625,776513,476
Percent change one decade to the next 5.60%-17.95%
Percent change 1990 to 2010  -13.35%
    
Percent of Chicago's school-aged kids
in Chicago Public Schools
 68.99%79.71%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau and Chicago Public Schools