St. Joseph to close at end of school yearSt. Joseph Elementary School will close its doors at the end of the 2010-2011 school year, the Church of St. Joseph announced Friday.
By: Sarah Gorvin, The Republican Eagle
St. Joseph Elementary School will close its doors at the end of the 2010-2011 school year, the Church of St. Joseph announced Friday.
The school, which currently has 43 students in grades kindergarten through fourth grade, had been facing "declining enrollment and significant financial challenges," the church said.
"It's a sign of the times," said Joe Grosso, vice-chair of the Church of St. Joseph Parish Pastoral Council. "A lot of the smaller parochial schools are struggling."
Friday's announcement follows a rigorous review process, which began in October, by the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul to determine the school's sustainability.
As part of that review, a local task force studied the school's finances and demographics. They were then asked to come up with a plan for the school's future, and recommended in December that the school be closed. Archbishop John Nienstedt accepted the recommendation on Friday.
Randy King, whose daughter attends fourth grade at St. Joseph, said parents were informed of the closing by a letter sent home with children Friday afternoon. He said a meeting was also held Friday evening with the task force members, school staff and parents.
@sub heads: Not a surprise
@normal: Though many parents are saddened by the school's closing, they say they aren't surprised by the news.
Elaine Beech's son Patrick attended St. Joseph School from kindergarten through fifth grade. She said she was aware of the school's financial troubles and that tuition increased nearly every year her son was in school.
"Unfortunately tuition got so high it was difficult for people to go there," she said.
Tim Kelly, whose four children graduated from St. Joseph, said it will be hard to see the school close.
"The class sizes were considerably smaller [than those of public schools] and the quality of education was at the top level," he said. "It offered something pretty valuable to everyone who went through there."
The Church of St. Joseph is encouraging parents to send their children to nearby Catholic schools in Hastings, Minn. and Vermillion, Minn. They also say the church will assist parish families with tuition to these schools.
"While this is a difficult time for us all, we can take comfort in knowing the legacy of St. Joseph School will live on through the generations of students who were educated here," said Church of St. Joseph Pastor Thomas Kommers.
The Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul announced the closing of two other schools Friday: San Miguel Middle School in Minneapolis and St. Mathias School in Hampton, Minn.