ST. LOUIS – Recent church closures and mergers within the Archdiocese of St. Louis has some parents wondering if we could soon see some Catholic school closures. 

Just months after finalizing Phase I of its “All Things New” plan, the Archdiocese of St. Louis said they are now looking to meet with catholic schools.

The “All Things New” website said more than 80 catholic schools are seeing less than 65% enrollment. It said many factors are being considered as the consultation process with a third of the elementary schools begins. Among those factors include building maintenance, declining enrollment, and the cost of operations.

“The Archdiocese of St. Louis has said that up to one-third of catholic grade schools could close next year,” said former Missouri State Sen. Bob Onder (R-St. Charles County). “That would be 25 out of the 80 grade schools in the area. Of course this would have devastating consequences to families and kids.”

Onder, a founding member of St. Gianna Catholic Church, is pushing back against the All Things New plans. He said many parents are coming to him with concerns.

“I think some parents are telling me they’re concerned that same process,” said Onder. “That lack of transparency is going on with these school closures.”

The Archdiocese said in a statement last year they postponed any changes to elementary schools for the 2023-2024 school year. It goes on to say now that the parish decrees have gone into effect the Office of Catholic Education and Formation is setting up meetings with pastors to discuss long-term sustainability.

Onder said he hopes the Archdiocese will communicate with parents as well.

“If there are a third of the parishes that are in the sites of the archdiocese that they’re looking at closing those schools, they should be transparent now so that parents who don’t have to worry can rest easy, but parents whose schools are being closed can make other plans,” said Onder.