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updated: 9/6/2013 4:31 PM

Dist. 302 enrollment down for 2nd year in a row

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Enrollment in the Kaneland school district, once the poster child of the go-go suburban housing boom of the early 2000s, has declined for the second year in a row.

Total enrollment as of the sixth day of classes this school year is 4 percent lower than last year, at 4,613 students.

It is the lowest since 2008.

"It's not just at one school," Superintendent Jeff Schuler said. But it is a little more pronounced at Kaneland John Stewart and Kaneland John Shields elementary schools, he said.

Schuler attributes the decline to the stagnation in the housing market; new houses aren't being built, and existing ones aren't selling as much as they did before the recession.

From 1999 to 2005, the district saw annual growth rates ranging from 4 to 9.4 percent. Between 1993 and 2005, the enrollment nearly doubled.

Schuler also suspects a declining birthrate is to blame.

The kindergarten class is 24 students, or 6.7 percent, smaller than last year's. The first grade dropped 14.9 percent.

The National Center for Health Statistics reported earlier this week that the births in 2012 held steady, after declining from 2007 through 2010 and leveling off in 2011.

This year's kindergartners were born in 2007 and 2008.

Not only did a smaller kindergarten class enroll, enrollment in every grade group dropped from last year to this year as they advanced a level.

Other districts

St. Charles District 303's Aug. 28 head count showed the district had 444, or 3.2 percent, fewer students than it did in the spring. Overall enrollment was 13,228.

A report to the West Aurora District 129 school board Tuesday showed it had 12,482 students registered as of the first day of school this year, 298 more than on the first day of school last year. However, last year's number climbed by 338 students by the 14th day of school.

Batavia does not report an official early tally, but an official said on the first day of school that enrollment was nearly the same as last year's.

Geneva schools have 5,831 enrolled as of Aug. 28, 47 fewer than last year.

All districts must report enrollment as of the last school day in September, to the state board of education.

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