The Diocese of Syracuse released the following statement Monday evening:
After years of declining enrollment and accompanying financial difficulties with both the school and parish, St. Margaret’s Elementary School in Mattydale will consolidate its PreK-6 educational program with St. Rose of Lima Elementary School in North Syracuse at the end of the school year in June 2021. St. Margaret’s School will not reopen for the 2021-22 school year.
The request to consolidate the schools was made jointly by the St. Margaret’s Parish Trustees, Finance Council, Pastor, the Superintendent of Schools, and representatives of the Diocese of Syracuse. The Most Reverend Douglas J. Lucia, Bishop of Syracuse, accepted the recommendation “with sadness and regret” after consultation in January 2021.
St. Margaret’s School enrollment has consistently declined since 2015 to its lowest levels over the past few years. The severe financial difficulty of maintaining a parish school over the past several years has been further impacted by expenses associated with the COVID pandemic and has burdened the parish beyond recovery. The current financial situation at St. Margaret’s School has resulted in the decision to support a consolidation with the nearby school of St. Rose of Lima Elementary School in North Syracuse. Each school resides in the North Syracuse Central School District and are just over two miles from each other.
“I truly empathize with the families of the St. Margaret’s School community, who desire a Catholic school education, but the low enrollment, the financial burden on the parish and the depleted resources do not make this possible at the St. Margaret’s location. I pray for their understanding and cooperation at this difficult time. We know that news of the closure at the end of the school year will cause considerable sorrow and pain, not only for those families who are currently enrolled at St. Margaret’s School, but also for others who have benefited from Catholic education in its long and remarkable history in Mattydale. We all share in this sadness. I pray that we will continue to support each other in faith, hope, and love as we experience shared grief in the closing of our beloved school,” continues Bishop Lucia.
William Crist, Diocesan Superintendent of Catholic Schools, said, “I am very grateful for the commitment to our children and school families shown by Principal Michael McAuliff, the teachers, and staff. All those involved at St. Margaret’s School throughout the years have been tremendously dedicated to our students. The school’s legacy will remain in wonderful memories for those who passed through its doors and left well-prepared to be lifelong learners and responsible and respectful members of society who carry the love for Jesus and for others with them at all times.”
“I remain firm in my commitment to our Catholic schools and Catholic education which are important tools in sharing the Good News and evangelizing efforts that each of our schools provide our young people,” Bishop Lucia said. “I hope that parents will continue to choose a Catholic school education for their children.”
St. Rose of Lima Pastor Father Chris Celentano stated, “We welcome the families from St. Margaret’s School as we go through this consolidation of our two schools. Our Catholic school community unites with families to become one more diverse and passionate family seeking a quality Catholic school education. I’m confident that students and families will be filled with joy and happiness when the new school year begins in the fall of 2021.”
Information will continue to be provided with direct contact to families and transitional updates for families on the diocesan website at syrdio.org and email/mail correspondence.