ELIZABETH – The Newark Archdiocese announced plans last week to close two Catholic schools in Elizabeth and merge them with another school in the city.
The move is necessary because of declining enrollments, according to a spokesman for Newark Archbishop John J. Myers.
Blessed Sacrament, a kindergarten through eighth grade school, and St. Anthony of Padua will close at the end of the year and merge with St. Mary of the Assumption. Current enrollments at the schools are 110, 93 and 86, respectively.
The new school will operate on the St. Mary’s site on South Broad Street, but it will have a different name. Two other Catholic grade schools in Elizabeth – St. Genevieve School and the fifth through eighth grade program at St. Patrick High School – will not be affected by the merger and will remain open.
The three schools affected have experienced enrollment drops between 30 and 50 percent since 2002.
According to the National Catholic Education Association, New Jersey had 609 Catholic Schools with 275,000 students in 1970. By 2005, only 396 schools with 129,000 students remained.
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