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June 22, 2011


We admire the zeal and dedication of school families and parishioners of Saint Kevin Parish in Springfield. Their commitment to their parish elementary school is commendable. We also understand that parish elementary schools are integral to the fabric of the community. The closure of any school is painful for all those involved and every effort is always made to provide the necessary support.

The truth of the matter is that low re-registration numbers for the forthcoming academic year combined with a parish debt of approximately $1.8 million prohibit the school from remaining open. Meetings with parish and school administrators were held as early as November of 2010 to highlight the importance of increasing enrollment in the school in order for it to remain a fiscally viable institution, especially in light of the level of parish debt. We had hoped that registration numbers would increase so that Saint Kevin Parish School would continue to be able to provide the quality Catholic education for which it is known.

Unfortunately, the necessary enrollment figures were never reached. If the school remained open next year, tuition would have had to increase from approximately $3,000 per student to between $6,000 and $9,000 per student. Experience has proven that following that route would only lead to further enrollment erosion and even higher costs. The parish, which is responsible for the administration of the school, does subsidize it, but does not have the resources to assume costs of that magnitude. Our history has shown that extending the enrollment deadline would not have led to significantly higher registration numbers; it has also proven that even if enough funds were raised to keep the school open for the coming year it would not have been sustainable for the foreseeable future. Admittedly, the timing of the closure announcement was not ideal, but it would have been much worse had it occurred in August.

To keep the school open next year would have placed such a financial strain on the parish that its own welfare would have been jeopardized. Additionally, the school would have had to cut art, music, physical education, technology, honors math, and library services in an attempt to remain fiscally viable. As a result, its programs would fall far short of the Standards for Quality Catholic Education established by the Archdiocese. We owe it to our families to provide a rigorous and challenging 21st century academic program that is no different than what students at our other schools receive. It would not have been possible for Saint Kevin School to provide that type of program next year.

After enrollment figures had been monitored carefully in conjunction with parish and school administration for a number of months, on Thursday June 9th the emergency closure of Saint Kevin School was announced at a parent meeting by representatives from the Office of Catholic Education.

Following that meeting, representatives of the school petitioned Cardinal Justin Rigali to keep the school open next year. Their request was reviewed, but the decision to close the school was upheld. That final decision was communicated to parish and school administrators in writing on Tuesday, June 14th.

The Office of Catholic Education is currently doing everything possible to ensure a smooth transition for school families and teachers at this difficult time. Students from Saint Kevin School will be welcomed at neighboring Saint Francis of Assisi School in Springfield and teachers are being given priority for other available positions within the parish and regional elementary schools of the Archdiocese.

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is most grateful to its dedicated and caring teachers and to the faithful and generous school families who have sacrificed so much to provide a quality Catholic education for their children. We pray that God will see the Saint Kevin Parish community through the challenge of the school's closure.

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Editor's Note: For further information regarding the closure of Saint Kevin Parish Elementary School, please visit

Kenneth A. Gavin
Associate Director of Communications

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