A Catholic elementary school in Rhode Island will close at the end of the school year because of declining enrollment and a mounting deficit.
St. Piux X Regional Academy in Westerly has only 118 students in grades pre-k though eight enrolled this year, and those numbers are projected to decline sharply, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence says.
Bishop Thomas J. Tobin approved the closure based on the recommendation of the pastor of St. Pius X Parish, the parish trustees and the superintendent of Catholic schools in the diocese.
The principal and teachers at St. Pius will strive to place students at other Catholic schools in the region, the diocese says. Teachers and staff also will be provided priority assistance in securing positions at other Catholic schools in the state.
The diocese says it anticipated a sharp decline in student enrollment next year as a result of a large graduating eighth grade class. The decline would exacerbate an already mounting deficit at the school.
“The closing of the school certainly is not the result of a lack of commitment or desire," says Bishop Tobin, "but rather, a reflection of the changing demographics that are affecting many schools, public and private, in our region and in many parts of our country.”
The school building that St. Pius X occupies opened in 1870 as Westerly High School and remained so until the high school was relocated in 1903. From 1903 to 1955, the facility housed Elm Street Grammar School.
In 1955 the school was purchased on behalf of the diocese and renovations were carried out. The formal opening of the school took place in September 1963.