Diocese: Bethlehem Catholic School Will Close

'Declining enrollment and financial challenges' will force Seton Academy to close at the end of this school year, Allentown Diocese officials say.


Seton Academy, an elementary/middle school in West Bethlehem, will close at the end of this academic year because of “declining enrollment and financial challenges,” the Diocese of Allentown announced today.

Students will be eligible for $1,500 grants to defray tuition at other Catholic schools in the Diocese of Allentown next school year, according to a news release. A letter explaining the school closure to parents was sent home with students today and mailed for Saturday delivery.

The release also said that a specialized program for children with learning disabilities – the Aquinas Program – will be relocated to the St. John Vianney Regional School in Allentown beginning in September.

Teachers at the school “will be given consideration for employment at other Catholic schools in the Diocese where there are openings,” the release said.

The Diocesan news release also said the following:

Seton Academy opened in 2006 as a result of the merger of SS. Simon and Jude School, Bethlehem; SS. Cyril and Methodius School, Bethlehem; and Holy Child School, Fountain Hill. Since 2006 enrollment has declined 61%. Current enrollment is 88 students. The loss of tuition income and rising health care and energy costs have required the sponsoring parishes to borrow money or deplete savings to meet operational expenses at the school.

The pastors announced a viability study of the school in November. A committee consisting of the pastors, parish representatives, two school parents, a teacher, the principal and representatives of the Diocesan Office of Temporal Services and Office of Education met to explore options to sustain the school.

In the letter to parents, the pastors wrote, “Despite the efforts of the committee to find workable solutions, efforts for which we are deeply grateful, the proposals did not offer a solution that sufficiently addressed the enrollment and financial challenges at the school.”

The pastors also noted, “We will remain committed to Catholic education and will continue to subsidize any registered parishioner of Incarnation of Our Lord Parish, SS. Simon and Jude Parish, Holy Ghost Parish and St. Ursula Parish that is enrolled in a Catholic elementary school in the Diocese of Allentown.” Included with the letter to parents was a list of neighboring Catholic elementary schools in the Diocese of Allentown, along with the address and contact information for each school, as well as upcoming registration times and opportunities for Open Houses to visit the neighboring Catholic schools.

The pastors’ recommendation was reviewed by the Diocesan Pastoral Council, the Diocesan Council of Priests, the Bishop’s Commission on Catholic Schools and the Diocesan Board of Education and was accepted by Diocese of Allentown Bishop John Barres.

marc vanic January 19, 2013 at 02:12 AM
unbelievable,my son goes to that school and it is a very good school with caring teachers,i dont get it, they close churches in bethlehem and there is still no money,why dont they dismantle thoses churches sell the stone etc ,sell the land and keep the monies right here where are ancestors built them! i know many people who have transfered to catholic schools and they are very happy they did,whats wrong with a uniform,religion and some manners,its well worth the investment!!!
PJ Lum January 19, 2013 at 01:22 PM
My children attended Holy Infancy and back in 2006 they were supposed to be one of the schools in this merger. At the 11th hour they decided to stand alone. Holy Infancy School is doing well now. I don't understand what went wrong with Seton Academy.
Rachel Thompson January 19, 2013 at 01:53 PM
Its good to see this trend. Less indoctrination is better, now If only Fox News and all the other mogul controlled media outlets would collapse we'd have a shot at saving the union. Propaganda of every type is killing this nation.
Carmen January 23, 2013 at 02:08 AM
The last comment doesn't even deserve a response.


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