Two parochial schools to merge
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Two parochial elementary schools, one in Brighton Heights and the other on the city's North Side, will be merged at the end of this school year.
They are Saint Cyril of Alexandria Catholic Elementary School in Brighton Heights and Cardinal Wright Regional Catholic Elementary School on the North Side.
Parishioners were notified during weekend Masses. The merged school will be at Saint Cyril.
A news release from the Diocese of Pittsburgh said the merger is necessitated by a combination of declining enrollment, escalating student costs, and increased tuition requirements.
The news release reads:
"The past decade has seen enrollment drop from 220 to 102 at Saint Cyril and from 235 to 154 at Cardinal Wright. This is due in large part to the demographic changes in (Pittsburgh) which have resulted in a significant decline in the number of school-age children in those communities."
The release notes also that Cardinal Wright facility is facing the need for costly repairs "in the hundreds of thousands of dollars."
The news release notes that the pastors of the churches that oversee the elementary schools support the merger. Those pastors are the Rev. James Bruney, pastor of Saint Cyril of Alexandria Parish in Brighton Heights and the Rev. Lawrence Smith, pastor of Saint Aloysius and Most Holy Name of Jesus, and the Rev. Ralph Tajak, pastor of Saint Peter.
In the letter, the pastors noted, "Declining enrollment in our schools and significant financial challenges that cannot be overcome if we remain as two individual schools have necessitated that we consider a merger of the two schools. Therefore, after much deliberation and prayer, we have concluded that we must merge the two schools effective with the 2011-2012 school year."
The pastors went on to say that a thorough analysis of both sites revealed significant repair costs needed at the Cardinal Wright complex at 711 West Commons, and that the "more viable choice" would be the Saint Cyril of Alexandria facility located at 3854 Brighton Road. "We are convinced," they added, "that the merger of the two schools effective with the 2011-12 school year will give us the best option for maintaining a Catholic education presence on the North Side of Pittsburgh and within the City of Pittsburgh limits."
Cardinal Wright Regional School opened in August 1998, with the closing of the parish schools at Saint Aloysius, Most Holy Name of Jesus and Saint Peter. They then became the sponsoring parishes for the regional school. It also receives financial support from the xtra Mile Education Foundation as well as from the North Side Friends and Neighbors organization that holds an annual fundraising event for the school.
St. Cyril's School has been open since 1929.
A new name reflecting the merger will be announced at a later date.
First Published March 6, 2011 12:44 pm