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Declining Catholic Population, Financial Woes Lead To Consolidation Of Some Schools

Keith Srakocic
In this file photo from Oct. 5, 2011, Bishop David Zubik of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh answers questions after a news conference in Pittsburgh.

Declining enrollment is causing the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh to restructure some of its elementary schools.

Last weekend, Diocese officials announced that 10 elementary schools in the North Hills would be put under a single administration. The changes will go into effect next fall.

Bishop David Zubik said now, all 32 regional parishes will support those schools.

“What was once a very strong model, which was the parish school, is not the most practical and not the most workable today,” Zubik said. “Because obviously the cost of education has increased and it doesn’t make a lot of sense to be duplicating efforts.”

Zubik said he hopes a leaner administration will help cure financial woes.

“Part of the reality is that we’re hoping that the tuition will not only be stabilized, but even decrease, because the fact is that you’re gonna have far more support from other parishes that haven’t heretofore had schools,” Zubik said.  

Zubik said because of financial difficulties, this new model will likely be applied to the remainder of the Diocese’ elementary schools in the area soon. In addition to school closures, some parishes may also merge. Zubik citesd the declining Catholic population as a main reason for decreased enrollment in private Catholic schools. 

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