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May 16, 2005

Saint Bartholomew Parish Elementary School, Northeast Philadelphia
Holy Trinity Catholic School, Bridgeport, Montgomery County

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announces the closure of two parish elementary schools at the conclusion of the 2004-05 school year. Saint Bartholomew Catholic School in the lower Northeast section of Philadelphia and Holy Trinity Catholic School in Bridgeport, Montgomery County will close in June 2005. Students from Saint Augustine, Sacred Heart and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parishes attend Holy Trinity Catholic School. The students presently in these schools will have the opportunity to attend one of the neighboring parish elementary schools for the 2005-06 school year.

The need to close these schools at this time is due to significantly low registration numbers for the 2005-2006 school year. As of May 3, 2005, only 145 students had re-enrolled in Saint Bartholomew Parish School for next year. Holy Trinity Catholic School had only 102 students enrolled for September 2005 ~ with only six students enrolled for kindergarten and four students enrolled for fifth grade.

As enrollment declines, the cost to educate each student increases. The cost per pupil at these two existing schools would exceed $5,000 per child if the schools were to continue next year given the student population and increased costs. Tuition cannot cover these costs which forces the parishes to subsidize the schools to a level which jeopardizes the future of the parishes. The quality of the school programs would also be compromised since this cost per pupil would not include many of the programs that make up an excellent, quality Catholic education.

The Pastors of these parishes announced the closure at Masses this past weekend (May 14-15, 2005). The Regional Vicars, on behalf of the Pastors, submitted the recommendations that the schools close this year to Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia. The recommendations received overwhelming support from the Parish Pastoral Councils and Parish Finance Councils. They realized that keeping the schools open with such low enrollments and high costs was not a viable option. Cardinal Rigali said, "I accept with sadness the recommendation to close these two Catholic schools. I am appreciative of the desire of Pastors, Regional Vicars and the faithful to use the resources of the parishes wisely and to provide the best pastoral care for parents, children and staff of the schools. It is my hope that parents will choose Catholic education in nearby schools for their children. May the gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church, which we celebrate on this Pentecost, inspire all the faithful to support Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia."

Donna Farrell
Director of Communications

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