By MARNIE McALLISTER
Record Assistant Editor
The pastor of St. Aloysius Church in Shepherdsville, Ky., told parishioners and school families last weekend that the parish school, founded in 1957, will close at the end of this academic year.
“As the costs of supporting the ministry of high-quality Catholic education have continued to rise, our level of enrollment has been increasingly less able to meet those costs,” said Father Brian Kenney in a statement provided by the Chancery. “In the midst of this, many of our facilities are aging and in need of repair.
“While I am very proud of the wonderful learning environment and school spirit at St. Aloysius, I know that we cannot continue to provide a quality education under these circumstances,” he said.
Ninety-seven students are enrolled in the Bullitt County school this year. Projected enrollment for next year is 92 students in kindergarten through the eighth grade.
Father Kenney noted in his statement that the school has “proudly served many generations of families and I know this is a painful situation for our parish community.”
The school’s administrator told The Record by phone that she did not want to comment.
Leisa Schulz, superintendent of Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Louisville, praised the school community’s efforts to remain open in the last few years. The parish needed to keep enrollment at or above 100 students, she said, in order for the school to survive.
“They have made several cuts in staff and tried to economize in several areas in the last few years,” she noted. “There really was not a place they could make more cuts without jeopardizing the wonderful education program they have. That was the greatest concern.”
Schulz said she made several calls on Monday to the principles of schools that are closest to St. Aloysius and asked them to work with families seeking another Catholic school for their children.
“They are very open to that and willing to work with families to help ease the transition as much as we can,” she said.
Cecelia Price, spokesperson for the archdiocese, said St. Gregory School in Samuels, Ky., St. Rita School in Okolona and St. Athanasius School on Outer Loop are expected to reach out to families of St. Aloysius students in the coming weeks. Plans may include special open houses and registration sessions, she said.
Schulz also said the archdiocese is offering to help St. Aloysius staff find positions in other Catholic schools.
Though the community at the Bullitt County school knew the challenges it faced, making the decision to close St. Aloysius School wasn’t easy, Schulz added.
“The families that are there are multigenerational families — grandparents, parents and now their children have attended the school,” she said. “There is such a deep and abiding love for the school. They have done everything any parish or school could try to do.
“In your heart it hurts because you know the contributions that school has made to the parish community, the Bullitt County community and the archdiocese as a whole,” she said.