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Little Flower, St. Roch schools to close at end of 2023-24 school year

Closure recommendations follow months of consultation, feasibility study

Little Flower School in Richmond Heights and St. Roch School in the West End neighborhood of St. Louis will close at the end of the 2023-24 school year, the archdiocese announced on March 8.
Enrollment at Little Flower School declined from 138 students in 2019-20 to 80 this year. As of March 6, eight students were enrolled for the 2024-25 school year. Additionally, Little Flower’s principal and 10 members of the teaching staff decided not to return to the school next year.
Nearly 50 percent of elementary school children who live in the Little Flower Parish boundaries attend a different Catholic elementary school, according to data from the Office of Pastoral Planning.
Little Flower’s Early Childhood Program for children ages 3-5 plans to remain open. The parish school of religion will continue to provide religious education to students who attend non-Catholic schools.
St. Roch School enrollment for the 2023-24 school year is 130 students, down from 195 in 2018-19. Seventy-four students were enrolled for the 2024-25 school year.
The decline in enrollment has led to a rising, unsustainable deficit at St. Roch School; the budget shortfall for the school was expected to reach $500,000 by June. St. Roch’s principal and at least four members of the teaching staff decided not to return next year.
The decision does not affect St. Roch’s parish school of religion.
In the fall of 2023, pastors and parish leaders at about one-third of archdiocesan parishes with elementary schools met with the Office of Catholic Education and Formation (OCEF) and their episcopal vicar to review enrollment, staffing, building capacity, parish subsidy and other financial support of the school, proximity to neighboring schools and other factors.
In consultation with the parish’s school board, finance council, parish council and community, pastors created feasibility plans detailing specific goals and actions to ensure the school’s long-term viability.
Following further consultation with episcopal vicar Father Scott Jones, OCEF and Archbishop Mitchell T. Rozanski, Little Flower pastor Msgr. Timothy Cronin and St. Roch parochial administrator Msgr. Mike Turek recommended the closures, and Archbishop Rozanski accepted.
The archdiocese is providing placement assistance and other support to faculty and staff at Little Flower and St. Roch, as well as enrollment assistance to families who wish to place their children in other Catholic elementary schools.
Ongoing discernment is taking place in other parishes with elementary schools, and additional closures may be announced before the 2024-25 school year, according to OCEF.

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