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St. Francis School in Medford to close

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MEDFORD -- Father Joseph Foster, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Medford, announced May 20 that St. Francis of Assisi School will consolidate with St. Joseph School in Medford and Cheverus School in Malden next school year. St. Francis will close at the end of the current academic year.

“I have a great compassion regarding the education of our children here at St. Francis. Throughout my ministry and prior to my arrival at St. Francis, I prayed to become a pastor of a parish with a school. That we are unable to keep St. Francis of Assisi School open saddens me,” Father Foster said.

“However, I am confident that the mission and vision of the school will continue by consolidating our students with two outstanding schools such as St. Joseph and Cheverus. We give thanks for the many contributions of our teachers, staff, students, and families who helped to shape the history of St. Francis of Assisi School these past many years,” he added.

Like many Catholic schools, St. Francis of Assisi School has experienced a steady decline in enrollment in recent years. As a result, St. Francis Parish has been subsidizing the school over the past three years, with the accumulated deficit surpassing $150,000. Enrollment is projected next year to be approximately 135 students, a 50 percent decline in just five years and well below the enrollment of 205 the school needs to operate with a balanced budget. Father Foster said the parish can no longer afford to cover the school’s rapidly growing deficit.

The consolidation of students represents a partnership within the Medford-Malden collaborative, which includes St. Francis, St. Joseph, Sacred Hearts Parish in Malden, Immaculate Conception Parish in Malden.

All current St. Francis teachers and staff will be encouraged to apply for positions in other Catholic schools. Teachers will be placed on the archdiocese’s Preferred Interview List, which is circulated weekly to principals across the archdiocese. Representatives from the archdiocese’s Human Resources Office and Catholic Schools Office will meet with faculty next week to start providing information on applying for other positions within the archdiocese and beyond. The archdiocese’s human resources department will also offer sessions on resume building and interview skills in early June.

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