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 |
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.
|U.S. Census Bureau population totals |
for City of Chicago, Ages 5-19
|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
Source: U.S. Census Bureau and Chicago Public Schools