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Archdiocese of St. Louis says Catholic schools will remain open for 2024-25 school year

Empty desks sit in the classroom of Sarah Morris, an English and Theater teacher at Rosati-Kain High School, on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022, in the Central West End.
Brian Munoz
St. Louis Public Radio
Empty desks sit in a classroom in September 2022 at Rosati-Kain High School in the Central West End. The Archdiocese of St. Louis announced the school was to close before alumni and school leaders successfully kept it open independently.

After announcing plans to close more than 40 of its 178 parishes in May, the Archdiocese of St. Louis says it will not be closing any schools for the 2024-25 school year.

In a statement released Tuesday, the church said it met with one-third of the archdiocesan pastors and parishes with elementary schools to assess the schools’ sustainability. Ultimately, all pastors recommended to Archbishop Mitchell T. Rozanski that their schools remain open for the 2024-25 school year.

Rozanski previously said in an interview with St. Louis Public Radio’s Rachel Lippmann that the church experience in today’s parishes is not the same as it was 50 years ago.

The archdiocese announced in May plans for reorganization known as All Things New. The changes were set to take effect Aug. 1, with complete implementation by 2026. Rozanski said a shrinking and shifting population was the driving factor behind the changes.

But after the archdiocese analyzed enrollment trends and projections, building capacity, parish subsidies and other financial components, the schools will remain open for now.

Pastors who wish to stay open as a standalone school have been asked to submit long-term feasibility plans to the archdiocese by February 2024.

“The Office of Catholic Education and Formation has provided pastors and their parish leaders with a feasibility plan template that outlines strategies to be taken to ensure the long-term viability of the elementary schools,” the church said in a statement. “These reports will be compiled after close consultation with their respective parish communities and will require the consensus and endorsement of their parish council, finance council, and parish advisory school board.”

Archdiocesan leaders said the feasibility reports should include plans for the next three school years regarding projected enrollment, school costs for faculty, staff, programs and supplies and sustainable funding sources.

Rozanski will review the reports and might suggest revisions or amendments, the archdiocese said.

Some parishes may also opt to change their decision in February.

Lacretia Wimbley is a general assignment reporter for St. Louis Public Radio.