The St. Pius X Montessori School in Towson will permanently close at the end of the 2020-21 academic year, with officials at the Catholic school citing a declining student population and financial deficit exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
In a letter sent to parents Friday, the Rev. Jojo Opalda, pastor of St. Pius X and St. Mary of the Assumption, wrote that the private school is facing a deficit of $100,000 this year despite support from the parish.
“Years of declining enrollment has been exacerbated by the outbreak of the pandemic and has caused significant financial strain on both the school and parish,” Opalda wrote. The letter is also signed by Michael Tinati, the school board chair, and Principal Jen Ripley.
“With enrollment at only 25 percent of capacity, the school cannot meet the operational expenses as well as the growing education resource needs of our students,” the letter continues. “The daily operating costs and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic have made the sustainability of our school impossible without going further into substantial debt and jeopardizing our ability to provide the quality Catholic education that our parents expect and our students deserve.”
According to its website, 145 children are enrolled at the school, which offers curriculum for prekindergarten through eighth grade students. The school, which its website says is the only Catholic Montessori program in Maryland, was built in 1962.
Parents are invited to meet with school officials either in person at the school on Monday or virtually over the Zoom videoconferencing platform on Tuesday to discuss students’ transitions to a new school for the upcoming 2021-22 academic year.
The Towson school becomes the latest Catholic school to shut down amid financial difficulties and declining enrollment.
The Institute of Notre Dame, Maryland’s oldest all-girls Catholic school, closed at the end of June after more than 170 years of operation as school officials said they would need to raise millions of dollars to cover costs and at least $5 million worth of repairs to the building itself.