The archdiocese has announced that Good Shepherd School in Hillsboro will close at the end of the 2022-23 school year.
“Our goal has always been to provide quality Catholic education to the children of Good Shepherd School,” wrote pastor Father Ryan Weber in a recommendation to Archbishop Mitchell T. Rozanski. “While this has been our goal, our parish is no longer able to subsidize our school through our weekly offertory and will deplete our parish reserves if we continue to maintain our school for the 2023-24 school year.”
Enrollment at Good Shepherd School this year is 74 students in grades K-8 and 35 in pre-K. Over the past five years, enrollment has fluctuated between 56-77 students. The parish had been evaluating the viability of the school prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but pandemic-related federal funds provided temporary financial relief; that funding has ceased. As parish offertory contributions and other gifts have declined, the parish subsidy needed to supplement tuition revenue is no longer financially feasible for the parish, Father Weber said.
After consulting with parish and school leaders and the Office of Catholic Education and Formation, Father Weber recommended the closure of the school. Archbishop Rozanski accepted the recommendation.
Good Shepherd School was founded in 1947 and is located off Route 21 in the middle of Jefferson County. According to the Office of Pastoral Planning, in 2021-22, 61% of K-8 Catholic school students living within the parish boundaries attended Good Shepherd School. Other students in the boundaries chose Our Lady in Festus, St. Rose of Lima in De Soto or St. Joseph in Imperial, among others. Good Shepherd’s Parish School of Religion teaches nearly as many students as the day school and will continue to operate, Father Weber said.
The archdiocese will provide placement assistance to Good Shepherd School faculty and staff, as well as enrollment assistance to families who wish to place students into other Catholic elementary schools. More information about Catholic education and scholarship opportunities can be found at archstlcatholicschools.org.
“I am profoundly grateful to the principal, teachers, and staff at Good Shepherd School, to all who share their gifts in our parish and diocesan schools, and to parents raising their children in our Catholic faith, including those who have made a commitment to Catholic education,” Archbishop Rozanski said in a statement. “Please keep all who have are affected by the closing of Good Shepherd School in you prayers, as I am keeping them in mine.”
The closure is not related to parish or school restructuring of the All Things New pastoral planning process. The archdiocese announced in November 2022 that elementary school changes under All Things New were postponed until the 2024-25 school year.