D-207 Sees More Black, Hispanic, Low-Income Students
Changes are most pronounced at Maine East, but all three high schools--including Maine West and South--follow the trend. Overall enrollment is down slightly.
Maine Township High School District 207’s three high schools have seen mostly stable enrollment – along with higher numbers of black and Hispanic students – over the last several years, according to a demographic report presented to the school board Oct. 1.
Overall, the district’s enrollment is down about 180 students this year, said Barbara Dill-Varga, the assistant superintendent of instruction. More than half that drop – 98 students – came at Maine East High School in Park Ridge.
“In general, it’s a slight decrease in our white population, growth in our Hispanic population, growth in our low-income population,” Dill-Varga said. “Things are pretty stable at West and at South. The bigger changes have been at Maine East.”
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At Maine East, the enrollment fell from 2,153 in 2002-2003 to 1,950 last year and 1,852 this year. Over the same period, the share of white, non-Hispanic students fell from about 50 percent to about 40 percent. The share of African-American students rose from about 4 percent to about 6 percent; the share of Hispanic students rose from about 12 percent to about 19 percent.
Over the same period, the share of low-income students rose from about 27 percent to about 45 percent. While the share of students who have limited proficiency in English has dropped from about 10 percent to about 7 percent, more than 76 percent report that a language other than English is spoken in their home, a number that Dill-Varga said amazes her.
She lauded the accomplishments of staff and students at the school “despite some of the challenges that might be there for them.”
At Maine South, enrollment has risen slightly, from 2,425 to 2,575. The share of white, non-Hispanic students went from 92 percent to 87 percent; the share of black students hovered around a tenth of 1 percent, with two black students in 2002-2003 and three this year. The number of black students hit a peak of 11 in both 2006-2007 and 2009-2010. Meanwhile, the proportion of Hispanic students doubled from 4 percent to 8 percent.
The proportion of low-income students at Maine South quintupled, from 1.5 percent to 7.5 percent.
At Maine West, enrollment has risen from 2,208 to 2,366 last year and 2,312 this year. Its proportion of black students rose from about 2 percent to 4 percent, and its proportion of Hispanic students rose from about 23 percent to about 33 percent. The proportion of low-income students also has grown, from about 22 percent to 33 percent.