Catholic school to close in Austintown

Published:

Bishop George V. Murry, bishop of Youngstown, has accepted the recommendation of the Member Board of Lumen Christi Catholic Schools (composed of the pastors of parishes in Mahoning County which have schools and diocesan administrators) that St. Joseph and Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Austintown close at the end of the current school year.

Declining enrollment is cited as the primary reason for the closure. Over the past several years enrollment has dropped by about 25 percent each year, except for one year when it remained the same. When St. Joseph School and Immaculate Heart of Mary School merged for the 2009-10 school year, enrollment was 324. For the 2014-15 school year, it is fewer than 100 students. For kindergarten through second grade, only 21 students are enrolled for the 2014-15 school year. From St. Joseph Parish, 24 families with a total of 34 students are enrolled, and 44 families with a total of 51 students are enrolled from Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish.

Dr. Nicholas Wolsonovich, superintendent of schools, said that despite marketing, academic and community efforts to reverse the loss of enrollment, the reality is that the school cannot remain financially viable.

Rev. Msgr. Kenneth Miller, pastor of Immaculate Heart Parish, and Rev. Gregory Fedor, pastor of St. Joseph Parish, said that they are "committed to Catholic education and will continue to support Lumen Christi Catholic Schools."

Lumen Christi Catholic Schools also includes St. Charles School in Boardman, Holy Family School in Poland, St. Nicholas School in Struthers, St. Christine School in Youngstown, St. Patrick School in Hubbard and the Early Childhood Learning Centers at St. Luke in Boardman, St. Christine and Holy Family.

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