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Enrollment Too Low at New Catholic School

Current registration level unable to sustain school.

In a plea to Manayunk and East Falls parishioners, five local priests said a lack of enrollment at the new St. Blaise Regional Catholic School has reached "a critical point."

The five pastors for six churches said in an email to parishioners, which is also posted on the school's website, that the 155 currently registered students are not enough. 

"We cannot provide the quality Catholic education which you are expecting unless we can enroll at least 250 students. Any lower enrollment means we will not be able to afford teachers’ salaries and run the school with the programs promised," it read. "The sponsoring parishes do not have the money it would take to cover the financial losses which would be incurred with less than 250 students."

If 95 more students fail to come forward by Friday, the future of a Catholic school in the Manayunk area is in jeopardy.

The June 8 letter is signed by Revs. Francis McKee (), Joseph Devlin (St. Bridget's in East Falls), James Lyons (), Charles Zlock ( and ), and Leonard Lewandowski ().

Tumultuous Year

This announcement followed a year of tumult in local Catholic parishes. "Mergers" have been the move this year for parishes and schools alike throughout the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Manayunk's .

The archdiocese announced in the initial merger message that it projected enrollment of 410 students.

In addition, the already-consolidated regional Manayunk Catholic school is scheduled to open in the fall as reforming as St. Blaise's at the Holy Child site.

Throughout the spring, St. Blaise, has held open houses encouraging enrollment in the new program. The school even extended an April 16 registration deadline without much success.

However, and to the archdiocese without success.

At a Crossroads

Thus far, the priests shared, registration has not hit sustainable levels.

"Unfortunately the enrollment has not been increasing as the weeks and months have passed despite School Reach messages, emails and letters urging everyone to register," the letter said.

The letter, entitled "An Important Communique to Parents," urges parent who have yet to act (some who may usually wait until August) that it is imperative they do so.

"We are so grateful to the families who have registered for Saint Blaise School but we are at a critical point in the merging of the two schools into one and we need all who have yet to register to do so in the next week," it said.

The Archdiocese has established a Friday, June 15 deadline at noon for registrations. An announcement of the results is scheduled for June 18.

"It is our sincere hope, as it has been from the beginning that we not only meet our enrollment goal but exceed it," the letter said.

To register at St. Blais visit its website.

Amnesia928 June 11, 2012 at 04:51 PM
It is a very sad day. Although no one will know for certain until June 18th, the outlook is bleak. With so many obstacles against this, such as the huge opposition from certain St. Bridget's families, the huge tuition hike and almost non-existent family discount, the lack of religious participation from the families leading to minimal financial support from the parishes, and overall mishadling of the entire situation by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, we were doomed from the beginning. So, so many poor choices in this process have almost certainly led to the extinction of catholic education in Manyunk. With the closing of 3 parishes, now the school, families will surely begin to flee Manyunk all together in search of a parish/school that will welcome their family and educate their children in the community setting we were all once priveledged to have. The state of quality education in Rox/Manyunk is quickly becoming non-existent, and soon, with the threat of some of our neighborhood public schools in jeopardy as well, there will be no option in our community to educate our children. What will happen to our community at that point? I pray that all families involved have the strength and faith they need to go through whatever lies ahead, and wherever we land, let us all help to build a strong, faith-based community that will nurture our children.
Sheeptrainer June 11, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Who cares? Molesting children has its consequences. With over 1000 years of scandals I am surprised the mindless sheep still flock there. Don't people read history books or watch the news. Public and private schools are still available.
Amnesia928 June 11, 2012 at 05:50 PM
You obviously don't read history books or watch the news. The same thing is happening in our public schools with the scandals and the closures. I'll stick with the sheep thank you, we obviously were taught how to obtain information, and use it in a thoughful, productive way, rather than to spew mindless opinions that encourage ignorace.
james koslosky June 11, 2012 at 08:46 PM
the tuition is too high. St. Philip Neri on ridge Pk. in layayette hill is almost half the tuition as this new school !
krautmef June 11, 2012 at 10:53 PM
lower tuition = more students
kathy paugh June 13, 2012 at 11:04 AM
Of course enrollment is down. How can the parents even begin to afford these astronomical tuition bills, especially in today's economy? We are all struggling to pay our bills and keep food in their mouth, cloths on their backs and a roof over their heads. And to slap them with and $8,000 tuition bill for 2 children? Let the priests try to live off these parents salaries and pay the bills and see how far they get. It's a sad day for all. Where are these kids going to go to school and when is the school going to let the parents of the 155 who have registered know when and if this school will open its doors in September? They need to find a school for them, and not at the last minute. The poor 8th grade students would love to graduate with the kids they've been with these last 8 years. The families are not being taken into consideration at all, and so many people are being driven away from the church and they're faith.
Janet Kempf June 15, 2012 at 01:30 PM
Wanna rethink that public school route for keeping your children safe from molestation and rape, Sheeptrainer? Here's a quote from Charol Shakeshaft, an education researcher whose studies have proved where the bulk of abuse takes place - in our public schools: "[T]hink the Catholic Church has a problem?" she said. "The physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests." Read the entire article from CBS News published in 2009: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/08/24/opinion/main1933687.shtml This was THREE years ago and countless episodes of abuse ago. It is an outrage that most of us do not even know what these statistics are and where the abuse is taking place. And it will continue and continue because so many people want to see the Church taken down a peg. But who cares about the safety of our children when you can take cheap shots and and bash the Catholic Church because you have some kind of grudge going?

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