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St. Mary’s and Rosati-Kain are raising funds to stay open separate from archdiocese

It was announced the all-girls Rosati-Kain High School would be closing at the end of the school year on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022, in the Central West End.
Brian Munoz
St. Louis Public Radio
The Archdiocese of St. Louis announced in September that Rosati-Kain High School would be closing at the end of the school year. Almost immediately, alumni came together to try to keep the school open.

The two high schools the Archdiocese of St. Louis is planning to close are launching formal efforts to stay open and beginning to raise money to operate independently.

Groups from St. Mary’s and Rosati-Kain high schools are forming a 501(c)(3) for each and evaluating what will be needed from a business perspective to operate the schools as private Catholic institutions, separate from the archdiocese.

Alumnae and community members have formed Rosati-Kain Forever to coordinate their efforts. The St. Louis Community Foundation is helping the group take donations as it awaits official 501(c)(3) formation, according to its website, though for now it is asking for gifts under $500.

“If we do not succeed in opening Rosati-Kain Academy, RK Forever will work with the current faculty and staff to ensure that the remaining funds follow the girls in their next academic endeavor,” the website states.

Similarly, a group from St. Mary’s has requested 501(c)(3) status and is setting a $10 million fundraising goal over the next five years to keep the school open. The group has already received pledges totaling $3 million and plans to launch a website this week to begin fundraising.

“It is extremely important that the mission of St. Mary's High School, which is to provide a quality Catholic education to all young men, especially those that cannot afford it, that that mission continues,” said St. Mary’s President Mike England. “That's first and foremost, but with that being No. 1, No. 1a is that we remain the anchor in our Dutchtown neighborhood.”

Both groups hope to keep the high schools in their current buildings, Rosati-Kain on Lindell Boulevard and St. Mary’s on Grand. In order to stay, the schools likely would need to lease their current properties from the archdiocese, meaning there would still be a relationship.

In September, Archbishop Mitchell T. Rozanski said the decision to close the schools was the result of declining enrollments. These were the first school closures announced under All Things New, the archdiocese’s effort to restructure parishes and schools because of shifting populations.

The archdiocese had planned to announce further school closures early next year but has now decided to wait until after the changes to parishes are revealed in spring 2023. Changes to schools would be announced after that and wouldn’t take effect until the 2024-25 school year.

Kate Grumke covers the environment, climate and agriculture for St. Louis Public Radio and Harvest Public Media.