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Alleman High enrollment drops 24% in 1 year, Diocese vows to make amends

The reasons for it are not completely known, but leaders at the Catholic Diocese of Peoria said they're trying to do something about it.

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — Alleman High School's enrollment has been on a downward trend since 2018, but from 2020 to this school year, it's seen an even steeper decline.

A document obtained by News 8 shows enrollment for the Rock Island school was at 432 students in 2017. Enrollment dropped to 416 students in 2018, 406 students in 2019 and a mere 385 in 2020.

To start off the 2021 school year, school enrollment was just 292 students, a 24% drop from the year before. Back in 2009, Alleman's enrollment was 448 students, which means Alleman's enrollment has dropped by 35% in the last 12 years.

"We have 69 freshmen enrolled at Alleman," the document, revised on Oct. 27, said. 

It also said 60 students withdrew from the school in summer 2021. Of those who withdrew:

  • At least 16 of the families apparently moved. 
  • 11 of them voiced academic concerns. 
  • 7 were displeased with the school. 
  • 4 noted the administration as the reason why. 
  • The other 22 families' reasoning for leaving remains unknown. 

Catholic Diocese of Peoria Superintendent Dr. Sharon Weiss, who reports to Bishop Daniel Jenky for the diocese until his retirement in March 2022, has responded to rumors that administrators are doing nothing to save the school.

"It has never been our intention to close Alleman High School - one of the six diocesan secondary schools and the only one that serves the northwestern portion of the 17,000 miles that make up the Catholic Diocese of Peoria," she said in a statement released Nov. 4.

Weiss went on to say there has been change at the school lately. The diocese has gotten rid of the school board at AHS. She said this has caused a lack of communication between what's going on at the diocese and what's going on at the school located an hour-and-a-half North.

"As we move toward the future, Coadjutor Bishop Louis Tylka has called for a renewed strategic planning initiative for our six diocesan high schools. Partners in Mission (PIM), a Boston-based consulting group, has been hired to assist with the initiative during the 2021-2022 academic year," Weiss said in the statement. "PIM has a proven track record and has already worked with Central Catholic High School in Bloomington. The year-long process will involve gathering voices, listening to opinions and clarifying facts; and when the work is completed, a report will be shared with each of the communities in which our high schools reside."

You can read Weiss' full statement here.

When asked for an interview, Principal Sara Stroud told News 8 to speak to Weiss, who is waiting on Bishops Jenky and Tylka before sitting down for an interview. 

News 8 will continue to investigate the situation.

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