St. Louis Archdiocese Catholic Schools

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A pair of recent articles came out in the Beacon and Post-Dispatch about how to halt declining enrollment. While the strategy sounds like it's still in the development stage (for the next 7 months or so) and likely to tackle multiple issues, one of the issues highlighted is affordability.

I'm didn't arrive until St. Louis until after college and don't have any kids, so I don't know much about the Catholic school system here. A lot of non-Catholics in my home town area went to Catholic high schools since the public high schools there are overcrowded, underfunded, and not known for being academically rigorous and the non-Catholic private schools are all insanely expensive. While we still need to improve our public schools, that's going to be a complicated, messy, and protracted struggle, especially since ideas and money seem to be in short supply. Could lowering the cost of Catholic education be part of solving the "schools" problem that people bring up so frequently?
A quick comparison. Althoff Catholic hs in Belleville, IL is $4950 per year and Bishop DuBourg a South City hs with similar demographics to Belleville is $7995 Sources: http://www.bishopdubourg.org/php/admissionstuition.php and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Althoff_Catholic_High_School
My son attends to st. Margaret of Scotland. We are non-Catholic but live in Shaw Smos recently won the blue ribbon award for education which goes to 50 schools across the US annually. Tuition is about 4000 grand a year which makes it very affordable. I walk to work, I walk to drop him off and he gets a top notch private school education.

I think a combination of school options within close proximity of our neighborhoods is one way we can keep families in the city. With city garden charter building new on tower grove, south city prep opening on grand, tower grove christen, smos, and improved public schools, our neighborhood is poised to provide good educational opportunities for current and future families who want to call Shaw a permanent home.
Parochial and private schools are clearly part of what makes our post-secondary education system the best in the world...And they receive gov't money...I've always been someone who believed that a voucher system would invigorate elementary and secondary education systems...Give parents back a portion or all of the tax monies they've paid to be used for private school tuition if they choose to send their youngster(s) in that direction...
Apparently Our Lady of Sorrows is REOPENING its grade school. Nice change of pace. It's too bad schools like Epiphany and Holy Family couldn't hold out a little longer.
The combined school with St. Mary Magdalen that was renamed as St. Katherine Drexel and housed at Our Lady of Sorrows is being renamed back to Our Lady of Sorrows, so no net gain in schools.
debaliviere wrote:
Apparently Our Lady of Sorrows is REOPENING its grade school. Nice change of pace. It's too bad schools like Epiphany and Holy Family couldn't hold out a little longer.


Sorrows grade school was always open...they changed their school name to St. Katherine Drexel during the merger between Mary Magdalene and Sorrows to signify the joining of two parishes under a new name. They're just changing their school name back to Sorrows. Confused yet? Also, I believe Sorrows is starting up a pre-school/kindergarten.

Lots of little kiddies running around in my area.
I wonder if, in addition to the bad economy, they're merely pricing themselves out of affordability for most people. When I started attending Chaminade in 1993, it was approximately $5,000/year. Now, it's over $15,000/year.

I know there's inflation, but if the price of the school went up with the average rate of the inflation, it would be in the $7,800 range today.

I wonder how long until universities price themselves out of affordability. At some point, the amount of extra income you earn from a university education will be less than the amount you pay to attend one.
I think St. James would be considered affordable. Charter schools have had an effect on their enrollment, but things seem to be looking up. Enrollment is up and the school remains the best option in that area. Here are their tuition rates:

http://www.stjamesthegreater.org/pdf/Tu ... milies.pdf
I do not think this is official, but some long time staples of South St. Louis, St. James the Greater & Our Lady of Sorrows, from what I've heard, will be closing and moving all of their students to the St. Joan of Arc campus. SJA will be home to the new combined school, not named yet. I'm not sure what the future holds for the 2 buildings no longer being used. Criticize the Catholic Church all you want, but these schools have been the foundation of these South City neighborhoods. Many kids graduated and became successful thanks to those schools. While it is great to see that at least one school will house the combined school and stay open, it is also sad to see two long time schools close. St. James Church will stay open, as will OLS. Again, not sure the deal is signed on the dotted line, I've heard it is all, but a done deal or the schools will all close. This will be a "Holy Cross" type arrangement, the South County schools signed.
I know that Our Lady of Sorrows was planning on closing either this year or the next, but last I heard there was still resistance to any sort of cooperative because it seems unlikely to succeed. A decade ago, Sorrows combined with St. Mary Magdalene on Kingshighway, but the end result of that was almost none of the students came to Sorrows. I hope enough people send their kids to St. Joan of Arc to save it from a similar fate, but I remain skeptical. Of course, losing St. James in Dogtown is a big blow for the City and for the continuation of the Irish community in South St. Louis.

In terms of the other schools in the City, St. Gabriel the Archangel (my alma mater) and St. Margaret of Scotland seem best positioned to survive long term. St. Stephen's, St. Roch's and St. Raphael's have fewer students but also have many wealthy parishioners which have allowed them to continue operation, and St. Ambrose has the support of the Italian community of The Hill to keep it afloat. I imagine that St. Cecilia and St. Francis Cabrini are mostly supported financially by the archdiocese, so it is hard to know how long the Archdiocese will continue serving underprivileged communities in South City, but St. Cecilia being one of the only Spanish Catholic churches in the area helps them quite a bit.
I went to Resurrection grade school (Meramec, now closed) we had about 15-20 per class...didn't have enough for sports team so we played on St.Mary Magdalene soccer team....pretty sure we made it to CYC soccer championship in 1998 or 99...

Went to HS at St.Johns (delor, now closed) school had about 500+ when i started in 2000....my class had about 140 to start and by 2004 the class finished with 66 and the school around 225.... we did finish 3rd in state in soccer in 2003...dominated the hack out of county private schools that year.

anyway...based on that, i can expect Missouri State University to close any day now too.
Being a K-12 Catholic school product, it really is astonishing and quite frankly, depressing, when you think about all of the closures.

Even though some of the major reasons are obvious, just look at the list (off the top of my head) of Catholic schools that have closed in South City (or close to South City) the past few decades:

St. Anthony of Padua
St. Pius
St. John's grade school & high school
Resurrection
St. Mary Magdalen
Holy Family
Holy Innocents
Epiphany
St. Aloysius
Little Flower
St. Luke's
St. Stephen's
Immaculate Heart of Mary
Immaculate Conception (Maplewood)
Seven Holy Founders (Affton)
St. George (Affton)

*St. Michael's, Immaculate Conception, Our Lady of Providence & St. Dominic all combined to form Holy Cross
*Now St. James, Our Lady of Sorrows & St. Joan of Arc will combine.

Like I said, astonishing!
DogtownBnR wrote:
I do not think this is official, but some long time staples of South St. Louis, St. James the Greater & Our Lady of Sorrows, from what I've heard, will be closing and moving all of their students to the St. Joan of Arc campus. SJA will be home to the new combined school, not named yet. I'm not sure what the future holds for the 2 buildings no longer being used. Criticize the Catholic Church all you want, but these schools have been the foundation of these South City neighborhoods. Many kids graduated and became successful thanks to those schools. While it is great to see that at least one school will house the combined school and stay open, it is also sad to see two long time schools close. St. James Church will stay open, as will OLS. Again, not sure the deal is signed on the dotted line, I've heard it is all, but a done deal or the schools will all close. This will be a "Holy Cross" type arrangement, the South County schools signed.


Except Holy Cross kept all of the school campuses open - which is fundamentally different than the previous approach of consolidate-and-rename. Seven Holy Founders did eventually join, closing their campus as they did. But then Dominic Savio joined and will retain their school as well.

Additionally, attendance at all Holy Cross schools (except for the closed SHF) is higher than it was before the arrangement. By all seeming measures, it was a successful endeavor. Kindergarten and preschool enrollment is at record highs, too.
Little Flower is still open though I know that their numbers are getting pretty low.
bprop wrote:
DogtownBnR wrote:
I do not think this is official, but some long time staples of South St. Louis, St. James the Greater & Our Lady of Sorrows, from what I've heard, will be closing and moving all of their students to the St. Joan of Arc campus.


Also - I might be getting them mixed up - but didn't Sorrows recently build a big new gym complex?
Sorrows did build a very nice gym complex, but that had to be over 10 years ago, but I could be off. Not sure what they would do with the other 2 campuses. There is a lot of pushback right now, from parish families. I am not sure how this will all come together in time for next school year.