byMark Labbe Pilot Staff
MATTAPAN -- This will be the last year the Mattapan Campus of St. John Paul II Catholic Academy (SJPIICA) will be operational, the academy announced in a March 1 letter to parents.
The letter, signed by SJPIICA regional director Catherine Brandley, notes that while "we are a thriving Academy, our Board of Trustees regularly assesses enrollment trends against the available capacity within each of our campus buildings."
"After careful review, the Board and school leadership have decided, in consultation with the Archdiocese of Boston, to discontinue operating the Mattapan campus and consolidate our operations into our three largest and most recently updated buildings starting with the 2018-2019 school year," the letter continues.
"We believe this consolidation from four to three campuses at the end of this school year will strengthen the Academy in many ways -- academically, financially and socially for all our students and families as we continue to build our school faith community."
All current Mattapan students will have a guaranteed seat at any of the academy's other three campuses in Dorchester: Lower Mills, Columbia or Neponset. To aid in the transition, SJPIICA is offering a one-time assistance credit of $1,000 per child for all current Mattapan families who transfer to another SJPIICA campus, and re-enroll on or before May 1.
Students who transition to another campus will be able to keep their financial aid award. Additionally, per the letter, the 2018-2019 will not see an increased tuition for any SPJIICA student, and most of the "Mattapan teachers will also transition to Lower Mills and the two other Academy campuses."
Current Mattapan students are encouraged to tour the other three SPJIICA campuses.
St. Angela Merici Parish, which owns the Mattapan Campus property, is expected to work with the Archdiocese of Boston over the coming months to look for other potential uses for the property.
SJPIICA was formed in 2008 under the direction of Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley as part of the Archdiocese of Boston's plan for revitalizing inner-city Catholic education, and is the result of a consolidation and merger of seven Boston parish schools. It currently educates over 1,150 students, making it largest accredited Catholic elementary school in New England.