YORKVILLE – For the first time in 20 school years, the enrollment for Yorkville School District 115 has decreased district-wide.
District 115 Superintendent Tim Shimp said during the Monday, Sept. 14 Board of Education meeting that the school district is down 26 students overall. He said there were 6,349 students from early childhood through 12th grade enrolled within the school district for the 2019-2020 school year and 6,323 enrolled for the current school year.
Shimp said there have not been any drastic changes in enrollment for this school year. However, he said there were some significant changes at the kindergarten, first grade and second grade levels in the district.
“[First] grade seems like – across the district, for whatever reason – it's down this year,” Shimp said.
According to school district data, the grade level with the largest enrollment decrease was first grade, with 459 students last school year and 423 students this school year. The grade level with the highest enrollment increase was 11th grade, with 456 students last year and 501 students this year.
The update comes after more than 1,000 students withdrew from Oswego School District 308 over the past year, according to school officials. The number of Oswego students who withdrew from the district and transfered to home school and private school was higher and that was partially attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Yorkville school district previously saw an overall increase of 68 students from the 2018-2019 school year to last school year, despite a few schools seeing decreased enrollment. This is the first year the school district saw an overall enrollment decrease since the 2001-2002 school year, per district data.
Shimp said Bristol Grade School is down 48 kids, with 259 for the 2019-2020 school year and 211 this school year, and Circle Center Grade School is down 37 kids as well, with 537 last school year and 500 this school year, according to district data. He said Yorkville Intermediate School is up 20 students, with 637 last year and 657 this year, and Yorkville High School is up 34 students, with 1,906 last year and 1,940 this year.
Shimp said he doesn't know if the district had any real anticipated actuals of where they were going to fall enrollment-wise as a result of the nature of this school year due to COVID-19 pandemic guidelines given to schools from the Illinois State Board of Education and Illinois Department of Public Health.
"Given where we were in the spring, I think it was anybody's guess on where our numbers would end up to start the school year," Shimp said.
School board vice-president Bob Brenart said he thought that increase was a small number, considering there has been reports of a 40% increase in homeschooling nationwide.
“Luckily, we have maintained the confidence of our community” in offering a choice in instructional models for families this school year, Brenart said.