Enrollment Decreasing in District 204

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Enrollment in District 204 is decreasing – that was the big takeaway from the demographic study discussed at the latest board meeting.

The projected 5.2 percent decrease by 2021 is largely due to large classes of graduating seniors leaving the district with smaller kindergarten classes enrolling.

“This is a maturing district,” said Robert Schwarz, CEO of RSP Associates, the school-planning firm that handled the demographic study. “That means that when we the median age, it’s below the census average but we think that’s going to start going up.”

Another factor is the lack of space within 204’s boundaries for residential development, meaning there aren’t many new homes bringing new families into the district.

The decreasing enrollment will likely affect the district under Illinois’ new evidence-based funding model – less students equal less money.

“We would maintain our base funding minimum and we would lose any new money for the next year,” said Jay Strang, Chief School Business Official of District 204.

Another part of the discussion was capacity – though the district is generally within their limits, there are a few buildings that exceed it, so the board wants to see some more data.

“We’ve got our total capacity for elementary, middle, and high school. So what happens if we roll those numbers together? What’s our percentage of total capacity are we at for elementary, middle, and high school across the district?” said District 204 Board Member Justin Karubas.

The district will use data from the demographic study to make decisions like boundary changes, what to do with old buildings such as Indian Plains and Wheatland, and where to place programs like STEPS.

Naperville News 17’s Blane Erwin reports.