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ISBE: 62 percent of Illinois school districts lost enrollment in one year

Thursday, Aug 3, 2017

* I’ve been telling you that 222 school districts lost enrollment between 2015 and 2016. That’s incorrect, according to the Illinois State Board of Education. The ISBE’s Jackie Matthews sent me this today…

Based on Fall Enrollment Counts, 527 school districts showed an enrollment decrease of at least one student between 2015 and 2016.

Illinois has 852 public school districts, according to Wikipedia. So, according to the ISBE, 62 percent of those districts lost pupils.

Why is this important? As we’ve already discussed, the governor’s amendatory veto strips out the district-based hold harmless provision in SB1 and replaces it in a few years with a hold harmless based on the number of students.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

46 Comments
  1. - Chicago Cynic - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 11:39 am:

    Please don’t expect facts to get in the way of the governor’s talking point. His team of extremist amateurs won’t understand.


  2. - Completed staff work - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 11:45 am:

    When you have finished your “completed staff work” the final test is this: If you were the chief would you be willing to sign the paper you have prepared, and stake your professional reputation on its being right? If the answer is negative, take it back and work it over because it is not yet “completed staff work.”


  3. - Norseman - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 11:46 am:

    527 school district superintendents need to be pounding on the doors of their local opinion leaders and has have these folks then hammer their reps to override.


  4. - Sue - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 11:46 am:

    Forget about who said what- the bigger issue is that the State is losing population at the same time it is facing dramatic increases in costs from the public sector in terms of retirement costs. Any objective person will have to acknowledge that this paints an awful picture absent the reforms Republixans have been working toward to no avail thanks to Madigan


  5. - Arsenal - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 11:55 am:

    ==absent the reforms Republixans have been working toward ==

    And also WITH those reforms, as “we’ll raise your taxes after we let the local school board cut your kids’ teacher’s pay” ain’t gonna keep anyone here.


  6. - Perrid - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 11:56 am:

    Kind of off topic, but how many pupils did the state lose in total? As in, how many kids moved to a different district in IL versus how many left the state.


  7. - blue dog dem - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 11:56 am:

    I have been saying for years. K-12 needs to be cut. As a minimum flatlined.


  8. - JS Mill - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 11:59 am:

    =I have been saying for years. K-12 needs to be cut. As a minimum flatlined.=

    It has been gut for the last five years.

    Unless you believe the education governor.

    There is a big difference in what they say they will give schools and what is being delivered.


  9. - Sue - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 12:01 pm:

    Arsenal- maybe you have missed all the articles as to population migration to Red states where taxes and regulations encourage job creation. If Illinois has been doing all the right things as you believe- it has apparently not been able to convince job creators like you believe


  10. - KAY-ro - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 12:02 pm:

    Is this controversial? Shouldn’t funding be tied to enrollment? Demographic changes consist of not only outflows to other states, they also include millennials moving from rural areas to cities, and from second tier cities to first tier cities. Shouldn’t money follow the student?


  11. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 12:06 pm:

    It’s due in large part to basic demographics.
    From 1997 to 2007, there was an increase in the birth rate. After 2007, the bith rate dropped incredibly.

    What are the birth years of public school children today? 2000-2014, right? What happened to the birth rate during those years? It declined.

    So there are fewer children entering school than graduating. That will be the case for another decade. Peak birth year was 2007 - I and millions of other helped set that record. My kids born that year are now 10, as are most of the kids in my neighborhood.

    People moving? If you’ve been doing any procreating since 2000, you’d know that we’re talking about the entire US. So even folks moving into Illinois ave fewer school age kids.

    Illinois is stuffed full of old people. We’re going to see increased legacy costs than states like Utah, OK?

    Chill my babies - that is, if you still got them.


  12. - Liandro - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 12:09 pm:

    I had a similar takeaway as Sue. We’re arguing here over guaranteeing the same money for school districts losing population. Isn’t that that rather myopic?

    There are ripple effects to picking either path. In previous posts Rich has laid out some of the dangers to reducing school dollars when population drops. Where is the discussion of the dangers of ignoring the harsh reality of ignoring declining enrollment when calculating aid? I sure haven’t seen it.


  13. - Perrid - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 12:09 pm:

    KAY-ro, some money should, but there are some fixed costs that remain unchanged and so it is harder to teach the students that remain behind if a portion leaves. Now the formula is complex and so maybe it accounts for that, but some small communities could be hurt by this. If you have 750 kids in a K-12 district (which some rural district have), losing 10 kids could result in losing significant revenue in a pure per pupil formula. I know its the hold harmless clause that would change, not the formula itself exactly, but it could hurt.


  14. - muon - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 12:11 pm:

    When property values were declining during the Great Recession but tax levies were still increasing the result was not a decline in property tax but an increase in the tax along with an increase in rates. In the case of those prprties that actually improved in value, their taxes went up to that same higher rate.

    By the same token, a decline in population in the majority of districts but an increase in funds put into the formula does not necessarily mean a decrease in funds to the shrinking district. More likely it would mean higher per-pupil spending rates from the state and an increase in overall funding. If the overall state funding is increasing, it’s only when most districts are growing in student population would the shrinking districts generally see a loss of funds.


  15. - Rod - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 12:23 pm:

    The issue for the Governor I don’t think is how many school districts would benefit from the hold harmless provision of SB 1, its the cost of SB 1 as a whole. Let’s all recall that the Democrats agreed to use Governor Rauner’s taxation limitations as part of the basis of PA 100-0022, SB 9. The Democrats made the point when the Governor vetoed the bill that they used the Governor’s own recommendation for income taxation levels during the override debate.

    The truth of the matter is SB 1 is underfunded as it relates to the expanded school district entitlements contained in House Amendment 2 to SB 1, but also the original bill as drafted in the Senate, Governor Rauner was directly involved in that deception and apparently wanted to limit the damage with his amendatory veto.

    I suspect the veto will be overridden, and eventually the General Assembly will have to increase taxes to pay for this, or cut other areas of the budget to pay for this, or ISBE will reduce actual payments to districts using proration. To achieve equity in funding school in Illinois will cost money and that will cost taxpayers or the evidence based model will not really be implemented.


  16. - Anonymous - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 12:30 pm:

    “Shouldn’t funding be tied to enrollment?”

    Of course, but that doesn’t fit political logic.

    It’s the same logic that gives a trophy to every player on every team.


  17. - Skeptic - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 12:39 pm:

    “guaranteeing the same money for school districts losing population” So you’re saying a bus with 50 kids is cheaper to operate than a bus with 55 kids? And the lights/heat/water is/are cheaper for a classroom with 27 kids than one with 30? Teachers that teach 27 kids should get paid less than those who teach 30?


  18. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 12:39 pm:

    ===Shouldn’t funding be tied to enrollment?===

    It should be tied to actual need.


  19. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 12:49 pm:

    Thanks Rich
    Good answer.

    Mine wasn’t as good.


  20. - City Zen - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 1:09 pm:

    ==I have been saying for years. K-12 needs to be cut. As a minimum flatlined.==

    ==It has been gut for the last five years.==

    US Census Bureau numbers on ed spending per pupil:

    2013 = $12,288
    2015 = $13,755

    Somebody’s spending more…a lot more…


  21. - City Zen - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 1:12 pm:

    Forgot to mention those were Illinois numbers for total spend per pupil from all revenue sources.


  22. - Arsenal - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 1:18 pm:

    ==maybe you have missed all the articles as to population migration to Red states where taxes and regulations encourage job creation.==

    Well, I saw all the articles that explained what specific “reforms Republixans have been working toward”, and they wouldn’t keep me people here. The Turnaround Agenda was the Republicans’ goal for the last 2.5 years, and it was a specific thing. I know why you want to handwave it away, but, nah.


  23. - Last Bull Moose - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 1:19 pm:

    VanillaMan is right. Follow the demographics.

    There were 158,522 children born in Illinois in 2014. This compares to 185,003 in 2000 per
    DPH. The numbers were much higher in the 1970’s.

    There will be a continuing drop in the number of school age children. This is baked in and school districts can manage to it.

    Some school districts will be sideswiped when a plant closes, but most can predict and follow the age cohorts through the grades.

    And fixed costs can be managed too. Most “fixed” costs are semi-variable, it takes thought about what to do.


  24. - City Zen - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 1:24 pm:

    ==There will be a continuing drop in the number of school age children.==

    Combed with an increasingly aging population whose retirement income is not taxed. Illinois doesn’t have to lose population to lose its tax base.

    It’s going to take more than population growth to change the state’s momentum.


  25. - Perrid - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 1:40 pm:

    Googled it and answered my own question. Public school enrollment has been going down for a while, so it seems to me that going per-pupil the public school system as a whole will lose money. Data from ISBE: https://www.isbe.net/Pages/Fall-Enrollment-Counts.aspx

    Year Total Enrollment Difference
    13 2,081,731 N/A
    14 2,072,991 -8,740
    15 2,061,480 -11,511
    16 2,044,358 -17,122
    17 2,026,750 -17,608


  26. - Last Bull Moose - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 1:50 pm:

    Retirees do not get off scot free. They pay tax on all income except social security and pensions. So investment income is taxed. They also pay sales taxes just like everyone else.


  27. - sharkette - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 2:00 pm:

    re
    Shouldn’t funding be tied to enrollment?
    It should be tied per student, not district and include student needs.
    For all the above reasons,
    declining population,
    to many districts,
    not enough funding,
    teacher and Administrative over costs from so many districts. and all those INB add-ons the educators love to put on so many kids to get extra funding.
    Funding needs to be based on individual children’s needs
    there are at lease 4 elementary schools where I live with in a mile all different taxing districts on my tax bill


  28. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 2:02 pm:

    We’ve seen this impacting church nurseries, pre-Ks, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Kindergarten. Once you get the 2007 birth year cohorts out, the number of kids isn’t large enough. We’ve had too many kids birthed up to 2007, then zippo after 2009. I’ve had to shut down a Cub Scout Pack due to a lack of boys. We’ve closed Sunday school classrooms from a lack of kids.

    Since about 2014, it seems that there been births again. However, we’re not seen another year like 2007, 2004, 2002 or 2000.

    These are the Baby Boomer grandkids we’re talking about, btw.


  29. - Sue - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 2:15 pm:

    Arsenal- you can move to CA and hope for Calexit- progressives like you just want to see the Govt tax more and distribute the money to your social causes- as they say eventually they run out of money to spend. Ask Prekwinkel who now has to put thru really dumb taxes in order to keep the spigots on


  30. - blue dog dem - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 2:38 pm:

    Not to worry. A single payer healthcare system will bring in families with school-age children galore. Win,win.


  31. - downstate hack - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 2:38 pm:

    Increased funding is not in itself evil. Increased funding and decreased performance is another example of Illinois government’s failure to perform. Funding should be flatlined immediately until results improve.


  32. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 2:41 pm:

    ===Funding should be flatlined immediately until results improve===

    Sigh.


  33. - Anonymous - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 3:14 pm:

    ==you just want to see the Govt tax more and distribute the money to your social causes==

    Providing public education hasn’t been considered a social cause since 1635. It’s a constitutional requirement. Got something against constitutions too? Magna Carta was approved in 1215.

    Your position on this seems Pre-Colombian.


  34. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 3:16 pm:

    3:14 was me Sue.


  35. - KAY-ro - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 3:18 pm:

    I disagree. I think funding should be tied to enrollment. If a region shrinks, they should let-go of teachers and admins based on their population loss. They should also move to smaller facilities if the demographic change appears to be permantent. I also believe that class sizes should be capped at 18 students with a teachers aid, and teachers from top schools and graduate schools should earn more, $120k, $150k per year, whatever it takes. I also believe that all public school students should wear subsidized uniforms and that “charter schools” should be abolished.

    But so far I only see two camps, one wants to destroy public education and outsource it entirely, the other wants to preserve an unlimited bureaucracy where a job is a right forever. Is anyone in the middle?


  36. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 4:22 pm:

    It costs the same to teach 25 students in a classroom as it does to teach 15. Or 30 or even 10.

    That’s why per district funding makes more sense than per student funding.


  37. - Sue - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 4:23 pm:

    As much as everyone applauds local control for their community schools- it wouldn’t be a bad idea to impose some oversight or more oversight when it comes to admin salaries, admin positions and referendum requirements. Done wealthier districts have multiple overlapping positions with admin salaries for sups in excess of 300k with an additional 30 percent in benefits. HS districts with one or two schools have multiple principals with several assts and positions for HR curriculum finance etc totaling millions of dollars. It would be nice if the State stepped in and put boundaries on this spending so more went into the classrooms


  38. - Liandro - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 5:27 pm:

    “So you’re saying a bus with 50 kids is cheaper to operate than a bus with 55 kids? And the lights/heat/water is/are cheaper for a classroom with 27 kids than one with 30? Teachers that teach 27 kids should get paid less than those who teach 30?”

    No, we’re saying that logistics is expensive, and those costs go down when there are less people to serve. Administrative services, staff levels, bussing levels, number of classes, athletic needs..the list of potentially affected areas goes on.

    In the government world would this concept sometimes gets strong push-back, but it really is basic, responsive management. There are financial adjustments that need to be made when demand drops, and proper management would identify areas where less students could/should translate to less costs.

    In the ideal world we have a booming economy, governments flush with cash, and a robust population sending their children to school. Clearly that’s not the case everywhere, and refusing to adapt isn’t a healthy or wise response.


  39. - Liandro - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 5:29 pm:

    “It costs the same to teach 25 students in a classroom as it does to teach 15. Or 30 or even 10.”

    Which is why you would adapt your class schedule to the number of students and not to your number of teachers…


  40. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 6:16 pm:

    Lol Liandro, so third grade is Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and fourth grade is Tuesday and Thursday?


  41. - Liandro - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 6:31 pm:

    “Lol Liandro, so third grade is Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and fourth grade is Tuesday and Thursday?”

    Are we really going to dumb it down to this level? Any school administration has complex school class size/schedule/location charts, and they get adjusted each year based on enrollment. We you under the impression that administrators just ignored student levels and scheduled the same amount of classes and times no matter what?


  42. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 6:54 pm:

    You could also force more consolidation of districts too. That’s always quite popular with parents and voters.


  43. - Liandro - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 7:00 pm:

    Consolidation was done willingly in one nearby me, and it went very well. I was genuinely impressed that one administrator more or less advises himself out of a job–hard not to resect that.

    I realize you made your point facetiously, but coordinating appropriate consolidations shouldn’t be off the table if economies of scale are what we’re all worried about. Undoubtedly its best to have local support for such moves.


  44. - Liandro - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 7:01 pm:

    Apologies for the multitude of sp/gr errors.


  45. - City Zen - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 10:51 pm:

    ==Arsenal- you can move to CA and hope for Calexit- progressives like you just want to see the Govt tax more and distribute the money to your social causes==

    California residents spend less per pupil on education than Illinois residents. Progressive indeed.


  46. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Aug 3, 17 @ 10:51 pm:

    Those who can’t - teach.
    Those who can’t teach - tells everyone how to run schools.


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