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Allegheny

Pittsburgh Diocese announces school mergers, closings

Chuck Biedka
| Saturday, March 17, 2018, 6:25 p.m.
St. Bernadette School in Monroeville is one of four merging for the next school year, the Diocese of Pittsburgh announced on Saturday, March 17, 2018.
Courtesy of St. Bernadette School
St. Bernadette School in Monroeville is one of four merging for the next school year, the Diocese of Pittsburgh announced on Saturday, March 17, 2018.

Elementary and middle school programs at four Catholic schools in Allegheny County will merge and one will close, according to the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

North American Martyrs School and St. Bernadette School, both in Monroeville, will merge their pre-K through eighth grade programs, as will Assumption School in Bellevue and Northside Catholic School in Brighton Heights.

Both mergers will begin this fall with the 2018-2019 school year.

The pre-K through 8th grade education program at St. Rosalia Academy in Greenfield will close at the end of the current school year, the diocese announced through a news release. News of the closing and mergers was to be announced at Sunday masses.

Current St. Rosalia Academy students will be assisted in finding another Catholic school to attend and those students supported by the Extra Mile Education Foundation will continue to have the opportunity for a Catholic education available to them.

The changes are part on an ongoing regionalization of schools in the North Hills and Pittsburgh-East parts of the diocese.

Bishop David Zubik approved the merger and said the merged schools would have the new name Divine Mercy Academy.

Both school buildings will remain open as a result of the merger. The K–8 education program will be located at the St. Bernadette Campus. The Pre-K education program will be located at the North American Martyrs Campus. Only the Northside Catholic School building will remain open as a result of its merger with Assumption School. The pre-K–8 education program will be located there and the school will operate under a new name, to be submitted by the task force and approved by Zubik.Declining enrollment and increasing financial challenges were cited as the reasons for the both mergers.

The decision to close St. Rosalia Academy was recommended by the parish pastor after consultation with the pastoral and finance councils of St. Rosalia Parish and the administration of St. Rosalia Academy.A sharp decline in enrollment and substantial financial challenges were cited as the reasons to close the school.

Diocese officials said they recognized the decisions will be hard for many families but pledged to help them find Catholic schools for their children and said the moves were necessary to strengthen the diocese's school system.

“While schools may need to merge and close, we continue to work to strengthen the value of Catholic education for the students and families we are called to serve,” said Michael Latusek, diocesan Superintendent for Catholic Schools.

“We will be assisting families of current St. Rosalia Academy students in every way possible to attend another available Catholic school. We will also be supporting the Monroeville and Northside communities in forming new school families that are united to provide for the needs of their students.”

The Diocese of Pittsburgh operates the fourth largest system of schools in Pennsylvania, with about 17,000 students and nearly 1,500 teachers in 69 elementary, pre-K and special schools, and 12 secondary schools.

Chuck Biedka is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4711, cbiedka@tribweb.com or via Twitter @ChuckBiedka.

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