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The Minooka Community School District Board discussed the changing enrollment levels within district schools during its Nov. 21 meeting.
Superintendent Dr. Kris Monn led the discussion, walking board members through the district's 2022-23 enrollment data. While enrollment-centric discussions had been more thorough in pre-pandemic meetings, the latest data, while not being especially in-depth, is still considered a valuable metric for studying the district's post-pandemic recovery. Public schools across the country have seen noticeable shifts in recent enrollment levels, and attempting to predict changes in future years has proven difficult.
According to Monn, Aux Sable saw one of the weakest shifts in enrollment, with only 30 students failing to return after the pandemic. Most other schools saw enrollment drops of 50 or more students, with others remaining close to pre-pandemic levels but with newer schools seeing much lower levels than averages in the past have suggested. Overall, the district has seen a decline of approximately 350 students.
"The big difference is in new enrollments in the primary grades, and that's kind of what we've been seeing with the registrations," Monn said. "But tracking the cohorts really, really plays it out. So again, there's no action for you to do with this, but it just shows you that as we project forward, we've still got some higher numbers in our upper-grade level, still over 500 students and nearing 500 in our top four grade levels. But we have to wait to see the growth come back in those primary grades, if more people choose to reenter the public school system as they progress into second or third grade, or if this becomes the new normal."
The board then discussed village development and its potential impact on school enrollment. While current district developments are being made, there's no large demand for new housing or more family homes. The district is not seeing any issues with development fees and construction-related taxes but also doesn't expect any large shifts in enrollment levels as a result of the changes.