Enrollment leads to changes in some Pekin schools, other leaders expect numbers to bounce back

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PEKIN, Ill. (WMBD) — Some school district leaders said enrollment is down this year.

The Pekin 108 School District is reporting an 11 percent drop in students. While district leaders said they believe it will rebound, future funding levels hang in the balance.

“We’re at 3,100, just a little bit over that for our pre-k through eighth grade,” said assistant superintendent Leonard Ealy. “That’s about 374 students fewer than we had pre-covid.”

While enrollment is down, district leaders said the trend line is not seeing a sizeable shift.

“The trends over the past five years were pretty steady. Every once in a while we’d be up a few, down a few,” said Ealy.

Ealy said he doesn’t know the cause of the decline, but said it’s likely an impact of the pandemic.

“A lot of it’s due to COVID concerns. Last year we had an A/B schedule where students were here every other day. We also offered a remote school,” said Ealy.

Ealy said if continues, it could impact funding, but thinks numbers will balance out.

“We can’t really say this is a trend yet. We’re going to wait a couple of years to see what this looks like,” said Ealy.

Down the road, money and enrollment led to changes in North Pekin Marquette Heights School District 102.

“This is where we’ve seen the most significant changes in terms of meshing buildings,” said superintendent Jennifer Lindsay.

District leaders closed Rogers School this year, combining its students between two buildings.

“Rogers School housed about 130 students last school year, so a third of those students are at Marquette, two-thirds are at Georgetowne,” said Lindsay.

Lindsay said it’s not too surprising.

“When you look at the overall population of the state, of this part of the state, our population is declining and so that’s going to impact overall school enrollment in the area,” said Lindsay.

The latest Census data reports Pekin lost around 2,300 people in the past decade

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