John F Kennedy Catholic High School in Manchester Mo KSDK-TV

John F. Kennedy Catholic High School in Manchester, Mo.

Catholic high school in suburban St. Louis will close

Dwindling enrollment prompts archdiocese to close John F. Kennedy Catholic High School at the end of 2016-17.

Citing declining enrollment, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis will shut down John F. Kennedy Catholic High School in Manchester, Mo., at the end of the school year.

"In recent years, there has been a diminishing number of Catholic families in this area of the archdiocese seeking a Catholic high school education for their children," says Archbishop Robert Carlson said in a letter to parents. "Kennedy High School’s freshman enrollment has dropped by 50 percent in two years. Total enrollment is down 43 percent since 2013."

The school's web site says 280 students are enrolled at Kennedy.

Noting that the archdiocese has been providing "substantial financial support" to the school for the past three years, Father Richard Wosman, the school's president, said, "Rising costs of education, changing demographics, especially in our area, and lower enrollment have combined to create extraordinary challenges to our attempts to remain viable."

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Kennedy opened its doors in 1968 and is the only co-ed college prep Catholic high school in west St. Louis County. It’s among 26 Catholic high schools in the 11-county archdiocese.

To help students who are being displaced, the archdiocese will honor all existing scholarship grants and tuition arrangements at any of the schools owned and operated by the archdiocese. In addition, every Kennedy student who continues at an archdiocesan high school will receive a $500 transition credit to cover student fees at the school to which he or she has been accepted.

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