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CPS Enrollment Decline Slows Significantly as Kindergarten Enrollment Increases in 2019-20 School Year

08 November 2019

Enrollment Decline Has Slowed Significantly Compared to Previous School Years and Beats Projections Due to Increase in Kindergarten Enrollment, Increasing Grad Rates, and Higher Percentage of CPS Students Staying Enrolled from Year-to-Year

CPS Office of Communications

Phone: 773-553-1620
Twitter: @chipubschools
Facebook: chicagopublicschools

Friday, November 8, 2019

CHICAGO - Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today released 20th day enrollment data which shows an enrollment of 355,156 for the 2019-20 school year, which represents a significantly reduced enrollment decline compared to the previous three years. With more students graduating from high school, enrolling in kindergarten and staying enrolled in CPS from grade-to-grade, the district’s rate of enrollment decline is less than projected by CPS data modeling. As part of the district’s budgeting process, all schools will maintain their current funding levels for this year regardless of enrollment losses, and schools with higher-than-expected enrollment have received more than $13 million in additional funding to support students.

“We’re pleased that more students are enrolling in kindergarten, matriculating to higher grades and graduating, which serves as a testament to the hard work of our dedicated educators and school communities,” said CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “While there are signs of encouragement, we are fully committed to supporting school communities that are struggling with enrollment by providing additional resources through equity grants and a budgeting approach that promotes stability.”

District Enrollment

While the district continues to be affected by demographic trends such as declining birthrates and immigration trends which have been impacting Illinois and large urban districts across the country in recent years, the district’s enrollment decline is nearly half the decline seen during the past three years. Enrollment losses have been offset by a higher number of students enrolling in kindergarten, which has seen a decline of more than 1,100 students on average for six consecutive years, as well as higher rates of students staying in CPS from one grade to the next across almost all grade levels, with the largest year-over-year improvement in the percentage of students transitioning from grade 11 to grade 12.

CPS’ official enrollment for the 2019-20 school year is based on actual enrollment from the 20th day of school. Enrollment for the 2019-20 school year is as follows:

  • System-wide: 355,156
  • District-run Pre-K-12 schools: 294,826
  • K-12 charter schools (including alternative and options schools): 60,330

High Level Summary:

  School Year 2018-2019 Enrollment School Year 2019-2020 Enrollment
District-run Elementary Schools (Includes K-12 Schools) 207,032 202,239
District-run High Schools 73,419 73,506
Charter/Contract 54,569 53,415
Charter/Contract – Alternative 4,742 4,726
Alternative Learning Opportunity Programs 2,317 2,176
District Managed* 3-year old Pre-K 4,789 3,192
District Managed* 4-year old Pre-K 12,879 14,300
SAFE 6 13
District Alternative 510 446
Specialty Schools (excluding Pre-K) 1,051 1,143
Total Enrollment 361,314 355,156

*Prior to SY2019-2020 charter school preschool enrollment was included in district enrollment counts. Starting in SY2019-2020 these preschool students are captured by DFSS.

Expansion of Free, Full-Day Pre-K

As part of the City of Chicago’s commitment to provide every Chicago 4-year-old with access to free, full-day pre-kindergarten by 2021, CPS added 2,800 full-day pre-K for four-year-olds by both adding new programs and continuing to convert half-day programs primarily serving three year olds. Research shows that children who attend full-day pre-K are more than twice as likely to be ready for kindergarten than those who attended half-day or no preschool. With free, full-day pre-k for four-year-olds, the district is bringing early education to every community in Chicago and creating a strengthened pipeline of prospective CPS students.

“With our plan to provide free full-day pre-k to all communities in Chicago, the district is providing critical educational opportunities for young learners across the city while laying the foundation for a strengthened student pipeline,” said CPS Chief Education Officer LaTanya D. McDade.

More Than $13 Million in Additional Funding for CPS Classrooms

To ensure that schools have the resources to support all of their enrolled students, the district has provided an additional $13.7 million in additional funding to 161 district-run schools that have experienced enrollment growth this school year. Under the district’s current budgeting approach, which was first put in place for the 2018-19 school year, no schools have lost funding as a result of enrollment declining this fall, but all schools that have additional students as of the 10th day of the school year have received additional resources to support students.

Equity Grants for Schools with Low and Declining Enrollment

Providing additional resources to our highest needs schools is a top priority for the district, and to help support those schools the district provided $31 million in first-of-its-kind equity grants to 219 elementary and high schools this year. Equity grants help ensure that schools with low or declining enrollment are able to provide the instructional programming and supplemental resources and supports that students need to reach their potential.

Chicago Public Schools serves 355,156 students in 642 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.