Catholic elementary school in Portland to close in June

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PORTLAND — The Roman Catholic Diocese announced April 15 that the 145-year-old Cathedral Catholic School will close in June, at the end of the school year.

Communications Director Sue Bernard said in a press release that the closure is the result of long-term financial problems at the school.

“Three years ago, the parish finance council recommended the school be closed, but I felt we needed more time to exhaust all other possibilities and explore every option,” Bishop Richard Malone said in a written statement.

This year, the school is expected to run a deficit of $115,000, a debt that will have to be absorbed by Cathedral Parish. A $250,000 deficit was projected if the school stayed open for an additional year.

Malone said the parish has already spent $330,000 for emergency funding, and will likely have to take out a long-term loan to cover the cost.

To address financial problems, a development committee was created to increase enrollment and gain financial backing from the greater Portland community, while administrators try to secure outside grants.

“This is a sad and difficult decision that has been postponed for as long as possible,” Malone said.

There are 136 students enrolled in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade at the school. A meeting will be held in May to answer questions about alternative schooling options.

“While this decision may come as a surprise to many, those who have worked tirelessly even heroically to support the school realize this problem has been building for years,” Cathedral rector the Rev. Lou Phillips said.

“It is very difficult to experience the end of an era with this closing,” he added, “but we must also be grateful for the tremendous legacy left by Cathedral School through the students who have been educated in our classrooms who became or will become faithful community leaders, parents and citizens.”

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