That is a lot of empty seats in CPS schools.
That is more than twice the number of seats within the friendly confines of Wrigley Field.
When no one is around, this beloved baseball stadium has 41,009 empty seats.
Do you know how many empty seats the same empty stadium had in 1974?
In 1974, Wrigley Field, Chicago’s same Wrigley Field in the same old location, had 37,741 seats.
This is an increase of 8.66% in seats since 1974! How did they do that?
Figuring out the exact difference in the number of seats we have within the District now versus in 2000 has been quite the task. We know the 20th day enrollment numbers for each district school in every school year between SY1999-2000 and SY2012-2013. They are listed in the CPS Racial Ethnic Surveys per school, per year. This data is in a format that is easier to use than a PDF (yay!) but because of school name changes, how schools are numbered (Unit or School ID number), and missing information about actual school capacity, it is almost impossible for me to figure out the “empty seats” number for each school year since SY2000-2001.
But I did notice that the overall number of CPS students enrolled did decrease somewhat over that same time period. See?
CPS has 32,009 less students in SY2012-2013 than it did in SY2000-2001.
But that’s not the same as 100,000 empty seats. Where did the other (approximately) 68,000 empty seats come from? CPS has known about the decline in student enrollment for quite some time and they have closed schools over the years.
Until you look at the number of schools open in SY2000-2001 compared to SY2012-2013.
Okay, now that IS strange.
Why would CPS open so many more schools at the exact same time that it could see that overall enrollment was declining?
Part II coming soon!