Saint Pat’s School Closing
August 9, 2015
By Lynne Ober
A long time fixture in Pelham, Saint Pat’s Catholic School will close because only 32 students had enrolled for this coming school year. Last year 113 students were enrolled, but as summer waned and August started, most of those students were not coming back and as a result Father John Fortin, O.S.B. Superintendent of Schools announced the closing. Father Fortin said, “Unfortunately, the low enrollment limits the school’s ability to offer the high quality educational experience that our students deserve. The pastor, principal, Advisory Board and many others have worked heroically, but despite everyone’s efforts the number of students currently enrolled makes it impossible to continue.”
Saint Pat’s School is a diocese school and Father Fortin said it would not be fiscally possible to continue operation as this low enrollment meant a loan would have to be taken to cover school costs. As recently as 2008-2009 there were more than 200 students enrolled, but the reality is that school enrollment has been dropping for a decade.
Father Volney DeRosia, pastor of Saint Patrick parish, called this a “heartbreaking” decision, but “with so few students enrolled it would be difficult if not impossible for the school to continue to offer an education that meets the expectations of parents and students and the standards of solid Catholic and academic principles.”
The closing has obviously been a discussion topic among church leaders. By making the decision August 1, parents still have time to find other options and the school has pledged to work with parents on that.
Saint Patrick Catholic School was founded in 1960 by Saint Patrick Parish. It was originally called St. Patrick Convent School and for many years was staffed by Sisters of Mercy from nearby Windham. The school served students in pre-Kindergarten through 8th grade.