IMAGE: St. Pius X Catholic School

A Mid-Michigan Catholic elementary school is closing its doors citing dropping enrollment and financial issues.

The Diocese of Lansing has announced that Saint Pius X School in Flint will close at the end of the academic year in 2020.

The diocese says a drop in the number of students and parishioners as combined to make the school financially unsustainable.

“This is the most heartbreaking day and the most heartbreaking decision of my 10 years as a priest,” said Father Anthony Strouse, the Pastor of Saint Pius X, February 14. “Unfortunately, the sad and unavoidable facts of declining enrollment combined with declining Sunday Mass attendance have negatively impacted upon our finances such that we, as a parish, have been forced into making this very difficult, very sad decision. Our key priority now is to ensure that the education of our students is not disrupted in any significant way; that we do all we can to ensure that our wonderful teachers continue to be employed within our Catholic school system; and that our hugely supportive and loyal parents are given both the pastoral support and practical advice they need as they plan the next step in their children’s schooling.”

Saint Pius X Catholic School was built in 1962. According to the diocese, over the past decade the number of students has declined by approximately 50 percent, to its current total of 115. The Sunday Mass attendance in the parish has declined even more dramatically in that time, impacting the finances of both the parish and the school.

The school management at Saint Pius X now plan to meet with parents over coming days to answer any questions they may have regarding today’s announcement and to discuss the various educational options that are now on offer to them and their children.

"We're not just going to leave them without any recommendations or any opportunities in the future," Strouse said. "We want to make sure that they're taken care of."

TV5 talked with an alumni from Saint Pius School who says the memories he made here, will stay with him for a lifetime.

"Some of my best friends today, are kids that I met here," Michael Rinoldo said.

The former student, basketball coach and father to two boys who attend Saint Pius school and other who already graduated.

Like most parents he was heartbroken to hear the news, but also hopeful that another opportunity will present itself.

"I think initially it'll be sad for them, but there's a lot of great catholic schools around Genesee County that will welcome them with open arms," Rinoldo said.

Copyright 2020 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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