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

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

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

2000 426,215 5,535 431,750
2001 428,737 6,733 435,470
2002 431,534 6,084 437,618
2003 429,745 8,844 438,589
2004 423,926 10,493 434,419
2005 414,538 12,274 426,812
2006 405,509 15,416 420,925
2007 394,651 19,043 413,694
2008 384,868 23,733 408,601
2009 376,028 32,016 408,044
2010 372,580 36,699 409,279
2011 359,880 42,801 402,681
2012 355,762 48,389 404,151
2013 350,535 52,926 403,461

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.

1990 2000 2010
U.S. Census Bureau population totals
for City of Chicago, Ages 5-19
592,616 625,776 513,476
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