Citing declining enrollment and soaring tuition, the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh has announced that St. Katharine Drexel School in Bethel Park will close when the school year ends next month.
The pastors of both sponsoring parishes, St. Germaine in Bethel Park and Nativity in South Park, had reluctantly recommended the closure after searching for ways to keep the school open, according to the diocese. St. Katharine Drexel was formed in 2008 from a merger of the two parish schools, after significant declines in both that diocesan officials say parallel a decline in the child population of both communities. It opened with 101 students, reached a high of 135 in 2009-10, but currently has just 73 students.
Even with staff reductions, the projected cost per pupil for 2013-14 was $9,500, nearly twice the diocesan average and beyond the reach of most parish families. Diocesan school officials said they would help the remaining students transfer to other Catholic schools in the area.