Father Robert J. Meyer, pastor of Saint Basil Parish, Carrick, has requested and received permission from the Pittsburgh Diocese to close Saint Basil Catholic Elementary School effective at the end of the current school term.
The pastor cited declining school enrollment, increasing costs, and the drop in the number of potential students as the chief reasons to close the school.
Only 75 students registered for the 2003-2004 school year at Saint Basil, well short of the minimum number that had been agreed upon by the Parish Task Force in August 2001. The current enrollment is 122, significantly less than the year before. In addition to the enrollment criteria, the task force also set a balanced budget goal, which has proved impossible to meet with decreased enrollment
There are a number of other Catholic elementary schools in St. Basil's immediate vicinity that can serve the students. Among those schools are Bishop Leonard in Mount Oliver, Brookline Regional, Bishop McDowell in Baldwin, and Saint Sylvester in Brentwood.
The closure was recommended only after a lengthy process of study by school task forces, which involved several meetings with parents and diocesan staff from the Department for Catholic Schools. In accordance with diocesan guidelines, the meetings were held as part of the ongoing deliberations, as was the sharing of information during the process with the parish community.
“The closing of any school is a great sadness to all of us, particularly schools like Saint Basil, which has a long history. Fortunately, other schools in the area are able to offer a quality Catholic education to any student desiring it,” said Rev. Kris D. Stubna, diocesan secretary for education.
“We wanted to make this announcement before the school year was over so that parents will be able to make plans for next year. Father Meyer has indicated he will assist in every possible way to help families find new schools. In addition, the Department for Catholic Schools will do whatever it can to assist the affected families with children in making the transition to a new educational setting.”