In a letter to parents last week, Bishop Joseph Galante announced that St. Mary School, Gloucester, will close in June at the end of this school year.
The letter noted that St. Mary’s falling enrollment — a 34 pecent decline since 2008 — and growing debt made it impossible to continue beyond this school year. The school faces a projected $150,000 deficit this year and a projected $250,000 deficit for next year.
In his letter, Bishop Galante noted that “this announcement may be met with feelings of disappointment, sadness and even anger. I understand that any change of this kind is disruptive to families and the school communities. That is why the decision was made only after evaluating the realities confronting St. Mary School and only after consultation with pastors, parish leadership and school leadership.”
To ease the transition for St. Mary students wishing to continue in Catholic education, the parishes that support St. Mary’s School will offer a $1,000 voucher for students to apply toward tuition at an area Catholic school next year.
St. Mary School has served the Catholic community of Gloucester since 1859, when 20 students and a lay teacher gathered for classes in the rectory of St. Mary Church.