Pine Bluff Catholic school to Close

(KATV) After months ofdeliberation, Pine Bluff's financially distresses school is closing at the endof this school year. The decision was made because of falling enrollment and ashrinking budget.

It's a sad day forfaculty, students and parents. The problems have been public, a drove people inthe community to hold fundraisers and do word of mouth campaigns to try and getenrollment up. It helped keep the school open, but only for this year.

A spokesperson says, "Withthe closing of this school, I think the Dioceses possibly will look to St.Joseph's for students to attend. We don't have any plans at this time, no decisionshave been made." But even Saint Joseph's is in a similar position with lowenrollment and finances. In the past five years there has been talk ofconsolidating the schools. Saint Joseph's opened nearly 20-years ago; they needabout 10-more students. A recent fundraiser raised more than 60,000 dollar, butthey're lacking close to 70,000 dollars.

Stay with Channel Sevenand for developments in this story.

MAY 1: Two Pine Bluff Catholic schools could be closing.

St. Joseph Catholic High School and St. Peter's Catholic School are struggling financially, mainly because of declining enrollment.

Superintendent for Schools with the Catholic Diocese is in Pine Bluff assessing the situation. The superintendent is looking at numbers including how much money has been pledged to each school as well as upcoming enrollment.

The amount of students applying to the school is fluctuating. Three students enrolled at St. Joseph's today.

Both schools need 60 students to stay open for the 2013 school year, prepare a balanced budget, and raise $200,000.

The Diocese says the future of the schools will be decided by the end of the week.

St. Peter's has been in Pine Bluff for 122 years. It began as the first school founded for African American children in Arkansas, according to the school's website. The school serves students in preschool up to sixth grade.

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