Five catholic schools in the Diocese of Camden to close at end of school year

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Saturday, April 18, 2020

CAMDEN, New Jersey (WPVI) -- The Diocese of Camden announced Friday that five schools in the diocese will close at the end of the current school term on June 30, 2020.

The three elementary schools and two high schools are:

Good Shepherd Regional Elementary School in CollingswoodSaint Joseph Regional Elementary School in HammontonCape Trinity Catholic School in WildwoodSaint Joseph High School in HammontonWildwood Catholic High School in Wildwood

Officials said the decision was influenced by years of dwindling community support, declining student enrollment and local fundraising.

Sources confirmed despite significant diocesan and parish financial support, it hasn't influenced a change to the decision.

"Closing a Catholic school is gut-wrenching for everyone involved, from the principal and pastor to the superintendent and bishop," said Dr. Bill Watson, superintendent of schools. "However, as stewards of the financial resources entrusted to us, we came to the difficult conclusion that low enrollment at these schools caused the strain on the funds available to become too great."

Saint Joseph High School had received loan support totaling $1.1 million but currently carries a debt of $6.6 million, officials said.

Officials say the schools would have suffered further negative impacts due to the economic realities of the COVID-19 pandemic felt throughout the region.