PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese is being forced to close two more of its schools.
Officials said declining enrollment and changing times are the reasons for the closures.
Parents claimed they knew that Bishop Leonard, St Mary of the Mount Academy was financially struggling, but some are now questioning how the school’s debt grew to almost $500,000.
Today, Bishop Leonard Saint Mary of the Mount Academy is closed in observance of President’s Day. However, the eerie quietness surrounding the school will be all too real in just a few short months.
“Dropping enrollment, increased debt. Those are the main factors in the need for closure,” Fr. Michael Stumpf said.
Along with St. Mary of the Mount, the diocese is also planning on closing St. Joan of Arc in Bethel Park for similar reasons.
Fr. Stumpf said it was not an easy decision to close, but parents think there are still options.
Dozens of parents, like Paula Duffy, are now calling for an audit of Saint Mary’s finances. They are questioning how the deficit got so large in just a matter of weeks.
In an e-mail to parents in January, Fr. Stumpf said they honestly fell short of goals they wanted to reach.
The forecasted debt at the end of this school year was estimated at $280,000, according to that e-mail.
In the announcement made over the weekend, the deficit jumped to $410,000.
Parents said they’re determined to keep the school open.
“We had 750 people sign a petition to keep the school open,” Duffy said. “We’ve gotten the e-mail, we’ve gotten the letter, no one’s given up yet.”
The Diocese said to have a balanced budget, the tuition would almost double to $7,000 per student and that would not cover other yearly debts.