Major Employers Eyed As District 87 Projects Enrollment Dip Next Year | WGLT

Major Employers Eyed As District 87 Projects Enrollment Dip Next Year

District 87 schools expect to see a slight dip in student enrollment next year, and changes at State Farm Insurance are one reason why, a district official said Wednesday.

Speaking at Wednesday's District 87 school board meeting, Superintendent Barry Reilly said the district projects stable enrollment next year. Next year’s enrollment projection is 5,280 students, down about 1 percent from this year’s enrollment number of 5,337.

Reilly said employment and a few other factors are influencing a slight downward trend over several years.

“The factors that I think most can be looked to in the community are changes happening with the largest employer in town (State Farm). To a lot lesser degree the Mitsubishi shutdown had a little bit of an impact on us,” said Reilly.

Reilly said he expects the trend to level off in the near future. That's despite State Farm's announced IT restructuring project, which includes voluntary buyouts for employees. The Bloomington-based insurer says its overall Twin City workforce would continue to fluctuate around 15,000 employees.

Low-Income Students

Meanwhile, Reilly said the number of students from low-income families also make balancing school enrollment more of a challenge.

Reilly also said 55 percent of students in the district are eligible to receive free or reduced-price lunches, up from 54 percent last year.

“You’ll have situations where families are moving from one housing unit to another and that could impact their school of residence, and they’re not leaving the district but they’re moving from one elementary school to another,” said Reilly.

The District 87 housing report also shows a slight increase in multiracial, Asian, and Hispanic students in recent years. The African-American segment of the student body is stable.

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