MATTOON — Bishop Thomas John Paprocki has given the go ahead for St. Mary School in Mattoon to close at the end of the current school year.
“We realize school closures have a difficult impact on families and we are committed to working with the students, families and faculty through this transition,” said Brandi Borries, Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.
Father John Titus, pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish, cited discouraging enrollment prospects in making his request in an April 11 letter to Bishop Paprocki.
“The trend of decreasing enrollment over the last several years continues and parish census and community demographics do not point to a realistic hope of a growing number of potential students,” wrote Father Titus. “In justice to our school families, faculty, and staff I believe the decision to close the school at the end of the current year needs to be made now.”
St. Mary was founded in 1863 as St. Anne Academy. In 1893, a new, two-story structure was built and named St. Joseph School. The current school was built in 1963. Kindergarten through fifth-grade enrollment for the current school year is 73.