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St. Mark School in Lemay to close at end of school year

Enrollment has declined to 101 students, down 46% over five years

The archdiocese has announced that St. Mark School in Lemay will close at the end of the 2022-23 school year.

Enrollment at St. Mark School dipped this year to 101 students in grades K-8, down 46% in the past five years. An additional 29 students are enrolled in preschool. After consulting with parish and school leaders about the ongoing challenges of downward enrollment trends and an unsustainable parish subsidy, St. Mark pastor Father Brian Hecktor recommended the closure of the school. Archbishop Mitchell T. Rozanski accepted the recommendation.

The closure is not related to parish or school restructuring of the All Things New pastoral planning process. The archdiocese announced in November that elementary school changes under All Things New were postponed until the 2024-25 school year.

St. Mark Parish was formed in 2003 from the merger of Mary Queen of the Universe, St. Timothy and Most Precious Blood parishes. The new St. Mark School was established at the former Mary Queen of the Universe campus on Ripa Avenue in Lemay.

According to the Office of Pastoral Planning, in 2021-22, just 27% of Catholic school students who lived within the St. Mark boundaries attended St. Mark School, with others choosing to attend Holy Cross Academy, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Simon the Apostle, Assumption, St. Justin Martyr and St. Catherine Laboure schools, among others.

According to the St. Mark school workbook detailing the school’s finances, the school had a net operating subsidy, or the amount that operating expenses exceeded operating revenues, of $819,000 for the fiscal year ending in June 2022.

The archdiocese will provide placement assistance to St. Mark 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.

“Please pray for all who have dedicated themselves in service of Christ through the Church. In particular, please keep all affected by these changes in your prayers, as I will keep them in mine,” Archbishop Rozanski said in a statement.

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