Three Cumberland County Catholic schools, Sacred Heart High School in Vineland and two regional elementary schools, Notre Dame in Landisville/Newfield and St. Mary Magdalen, Millville, will close at the end of this school year.
The announcement was made in a letter to parents from Bishop Joseph Galante.
The bishop said that the decision to close the schools was made after nearly a year-long period of consultation with area pastors and principals to deal with issues of enrollment and finances.
In the letter, the bishop said that the closings were part of a plan to “better sustain and grow Catholic education” in the Cumberland county area.
Students at Sacred Heart High School in Vineland will be granted a $1,500 tuition discount to continue their education at other diocesan high schools. Students at the two elementary schools will be given a $1,000 discount at two regional Catholic schools, Bishop Schad in Vineland and St. Mary’s in East Vineland, which will remain open.
The bishop noted: “The decision was made to deal now with long-term issues.” Sacred Heart, built for about 350 students, has a current enrollment of 202, of which 67 are in the senior graduating class. The bishop noted that tuitions and parish subsidies for the schools have risen sharply in recent years.
The Office of Catholic Schools will also work to assist in the placement of as many teachers from the closed schools as possible. Those who cannot be placed will be offered a severance package to help them transition to new employment.
“These changes were made most reluctantly,” wrote the bishop. “I am aware that closing schools results in disappointment, sadness and even feelings of anger. That is why this decision was made only after nearly a year of careful consultation with parish and schools’ leadership. Please be aware that the goal of these changes is to ensure a stable and, we hope, thriving Catholic school education in the Cumberland County area for the future.”