Deficits, declining enrollment force St. Scholastica School to close

Detroit — Faced with rising financial difficulties and mounting deficits, St. Scholastica School will close at the end of the academic year, the Archdiocese of Detroit has announced.

The elementary and middle school, part of St. Scholastica Parish in Detroit, has 85 students enrolled for the current academic year, a drop from 133 students in 2007-08, said the parish’s pastor, Fr. Marc Syrenne, CC, in a letter to parents March 2.

He said the parish has spent more than $2.1 million to operate the school over the past 10 years, and that rising costs and declining enrollment have forced “too big and too consistent a financial shortfall to overcome,” even after a $100,000 emergency grant from the archdiocese to keep the school open for the current academic year.

Fr. Syrenne said the decision to close the school was made after diligent reviews with the parish council and pastors of the vicariate, after which the recommendation was made to the archdiocese.

“Despite our community’s best efforts over the past several years, sustaining the school would risk our future financial viability as a parish,” Fr. Syrenne said.

His letter said Archbishop Allen Vigneron commended the community, parish and school for the quality of Catholic education it has provided.

“Indeed as a community we can and should take pride in the great blessing St. Scholastica School has been to countless families since it opened in 1939,” Fr. Syrenne said.

The letter said the parish would provide a “meaningful” subsidy of an amount to be determined for St. Scholastica students who wish to continue their Catholic education at nearby Christ the King Elementary School. The parish will invite parents to a meeting in the near future to discuss options for those who wish to enroll in another Catholic school.

“Please know that the decision to close St. Scholastica School is extremely difficult for both our own community and for the Archdiocese — a decision, no doubt, of last resort,” Fr. Syrenne said in his letter to parents and the community. “I thank you for your passionate support of our school over the years…We bless you for all your many years of hard work and dedication.”