DOWNERS GROVE – District 99 projections expect student enrollment at its two high schools to fall slightly again next school year, extending a larger trend that has seen enrollment fall from 5,434 in 2009 to a projected 5,088 next year.
The numbers were presented during a school board workshop meeting Jan. 13 to determine district staffing levels for next year.
Board discussion was minimal, and it gave informal approval for staff to move forward with the projections generated by Dr. John Kasarda, a contractor hired by the district.
His numbers were presented in a report by the district’s Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Pete Theis.
In keeping with the district’s 21.8-to-1 student-to-staff ratio, the district plans to cut 2.6 full-time-equivalent (FTE) instructional positions next year, bringing that total down to 233.4, compared to 252.2 in 2009.
“Our staffing allocations are based on what we believe to be the most accurate information at the time we make our recommendations,” Theis wrote in his report. “While we feel confident in the process we use to review enrollment and recommend FTE, we also recognize this is not a perfect science and unanticipated mobility increases and or decreases may impact our needs.”
The board also discussed the district’s summer school program at the meeting, which has also seen declining enrollment.
Physical education and U.S. History classes were canceled due to lack of interest.
The district did add an online class with labs to prepare students for AP chemistry.
Summer school administrator Tim Tilton said it’s difficult to determine if declining enrollment is caused by higher performance by students during the regular school year or because of declining district enrollment overall.
“In year 2013 there were 390 less ‘Fs’ earned from the prior year,” he said during the meeting. “In 2012 there were 96 less. 450 less classes [between the two years] that need to be recovered could make a difference.
“I also think we see less students in the district population. Also this could be year where students decided ‘summer school isn’t going to fit in my schedule.’”
Summer school enrollment was 477 in 2004, the 10-year-high was 496 in 2007. It has since declined annually to a total of 330 in 2013.
Staff made several procedural recommendations, including maintaining current student fees and elimination of the Back on Track program that teaches algebra due to changes in the math curriculum in accordance with the new Common Core standards. Common Core teaches several math disciplines in the same course.
The recommendations were given informal approval by the board, but no vote was taken.