The two pastors whose parishes sponsor McAdoo Catholic Elementary School have announced after a five-month study that because of declining enrollment and financial challenges, the school will close at the end of the current school year.
In a letter to parents sent home with students today and mailed for delivery tomorrow, the pastors said McAdoo Catholic students will be eligible for $1,500 grants to defray tuition at other Catholic schools in the Diocese of Allentown next school year.
Enrollment at McAdoo Catholic has declined almost 30 percent since 2007 and was below 90 students for much of this school year. The loss of tuition income and rising costs have required the sponsoring parishes to borrow money and deplete savings to meet operational expenses at the school.
The pastors announced a viability study of the school in November. A committee made up of the pastors, parish representatives, parents, a teacher, the principal and representatives from the Diocesan Offices of Temporal Services and Education has been meeting for five months exploring options to sustain the school. A goal was set of raising $130,500 and enrolling 93 students for next year.
In their letter the pastors noted, "The committee worked diligently searching for viable solutions. They did make progress. We are deeply grateful for all they have done and the valiant efforts of the McAdoo Catholic family. But unfortunately, despite the best efforts of everyone involved, there was no solution that sufficiently addressed the enrollment and financial challenges."
The pastors also wrote, "We remain committed to Catholic education and will continue to subsidize any parishioner of All Saints Parish and Our Lady of Lourdes Parish that is enrolled in Catholic education (K-8). It is also important to note that students from McAdoo Catholic will be able to register at any of the other Catholic schools in the Diocese of Allentown. There will continue to be opportunities for a Catholic school education for the children who have been attending our school. Teachers at McAdoo Catholic will be given consideration for employment at other Catholic schools in the Diocese where there are openings."
Included with the letter to parents was a list of all Catholic elementary schools in Carbon and Schuylkill counties as well as Holy Family School in Hazleton. The principals of the neighboring Catholic schools will be advised of the situation at the school and will provide additional information upon request to McAdoo Catholic parents about their schools.
The pastors' recommendation was reviewed by the Diocesan Pastoral Council, the Diocesan Council of Priests; the Bishop's Commission on Catholic Schools and the Diocesan Board of Education and was accepted by Diocese of Allentown Bishop John Barres.