Decision part of continuing plan for regional sustainability
In an ongoing effort to strengthen Catholic education in the south region of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, four elementary schools will merge into two schools for the 2021- 2022 academic year. Bishop David Zubik made the decisions based on recommendations from the South Regional Catholic Elementary Schools (SRCES) board.
Saint Gabriel of the Sorrowful Virgin School in Whitehall and Saint Elizabeth of Hungary School in Pleasant Hills will merge, with the Saint Gabriel of the Sorrowful Virgin campus to be used as the main site of the new school.
Saint Margaret of Scotland School in Green Tree and Saint Philip School in Crafton will come together, with the new school to be located at the Saint Margaret of Scotland campus.
In his letter of acceptance, Bishop Zubik confirmed his understanding that the recommendations came after careful study of financial and demographic data and student enrollment trends, and consultation with parish and school communities. The SRCES board also gave consideration to other important and relevant information in determining the best possible way to continue to provide a Catholic education for children in the south region.
“Each day I thank God for all who faithfully support our Catholic schools. They serve our students, our diocese, and Jesus Himself,” Bishop Zubik said. “Catholic schools are vital to the future of both our Church and our world. They educate minds, hearts and spirits, teaching the value of service as they prepare young people to become productive citizens and future leaders.”
The mergers reflect the efforts of the new SRCES board to ensure that Catholic elementary schools are affordable and accessible. With regional governance, all parishes in a geographic area support Catholic education and all have a voice in advancing the mission of those schools.
In 2017, regional governance was launched in the North Hills, where it has stabilized enrollment and finances. SRCES began as an advisory board and last July became a governing board for the south region and is stabilizing enrollment and finances of Catholic elementary schools in the area.
“This decision comes after more than a year’s deliberation and many, many hours of study,” said Father David Poecking, board president of South Regional Catholic Elementary Schools. “While change can be difficult, we can bring together the best of the past to support a strong future for the newly merged schools.”
“Our goal remains to provide families with spiritually vibrant, academically excellent and financially sustainable Catholic schools for generations to come,” said Michelle Peduto, diocesan director of Catholic Schools.