School has only 53 students across nine grade levels
Faced with steadily declining enrollment, and causing a heavy financial burden on the parish that operates it, St. Ambrose Elementary School in Schuylkill Haven will close at the end of this school year.
Students will be invited to attend any of our regional Catholic schools next year, and families who transfer their children will receive Diocesan grants over the next two years to defray the cost of tuition.
St. Ambrose School has 53 students this year, spread across nine grade levels. That’s less than half the enrollment the school had just five years ago.
The St. Ambrose sixth grade has two students, and its seventh grade has only one student. Other grade levels have a handful of students each. This low number of students has caused the parish to consider how best to serve its families. Enrollment was expected to drop even further for next school year.
Meanwhile, because tuition revenues fall significantly short of paying for operating costs, the school was creating an increasing financial challenge for St. Ambrose Parish. The parish finance council determined that it would have to provide an excessive amount in parish money next year to operate the school. This money comes from weekly collections from parishioners.
“It is extremely sad that so many different convergent realities mean our parish elementary school can no longer be sustained,” said Monsignor. Edward Zemanik, pastor of St. Ambrose. “I encourage all parents to prayerfully consider enrolling in one of our regional Catholic schools to continue the Catholic education for their children.”
Parents were notified of the parish’s decision Friday, in an email from Monsignor Zemanik.
Catholic Education Continuation Grants, for those parents who transfer their children to another Catholic School of the Diocese of Allentown, will be $1,000 per student for the 2019-2020 school year and $500 per student for the 2020-2021 school year.
Assumption B.V.M. School in Pottsville will be holding an informational open house for St. Ambrose parents on Thursday, May 2, 2019 from 4 to 7 PM.
The parish’s decision to close the school is not related to the recent announcement by the Diocese of Allentown about an Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Fund for victims of clergy abuse. No parish or school money will be used to fund that program.
April 28, 2019