Plans for regional Catholic school in Manayunk collapse

Posted: June 19, 2012

THE ARCHDIOCESE of Philadelphia on Monday nixed its proposed school merger between St. Bridget Parish School and Holy Child Regional School because the combined entity had failed to attract the 250 students that would have made it viable.

Both St. Bridget's in East Falls and Holy Child in Manayunk will close now, leaving no parochial school left in either section of the city, an Archdiocese spokeswoman said.

Only 155 students had signed up to attend the proposed St. Blaise Regional School in Manayunk as of Friday, the Archdiocese said in a statement. The Blue Ribbon Commission, appointed by the Archdiocese, had recommended the merger of St. Bridget's and Holy Child at the latter school's site in Manayunk.

Pastors from nearby parishes reached out to families, alerting them to the low numbers and the need to meet a minimum figure. The Archdiocese had extended the deadlines for registration until Friday to encourage responses.

The Archdiocese said its parishes "do not have the resources needed to cover the financial costs" that would be incurred if its level was not met. "The sponsoring parishes would not have been able to afford teachers' salaries or to administer the school with the programs promised," it said in a statement.

The pastors sent a letter that parents were to receive Wednesday conveying "their deep regret that the school could not open."

Apparently, the news was an open secret within the St. Bridget's community, some of whose members openly lamented its closing last week on Facebook.

St. Bridget's "was like home away from home; at the dinner table all my kids talked about was school," said parent Frederick Todd, who began to send his children to school there this past year. "It's really a shame that this good school had to end this way." n

Contact Regina Medina at 215-854-5985, Follow her on Twitter @ReginaMedina.

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