St. Agnes School to close after more than 90 years

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CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – After more than 90 years in operation, the St. Agnes Parish in Charleston’s St. Agnes School will close at the end of the school year.

The school’s child-care facility will also cease operations, according to a press release from the Parish and Finance Councils for St. Agnes Parish in Charleston, along with Father Jose Manuel Escalante, pastor of the parish and its grade school. The parish says its lay leadership and Fr. Escalante petitioned Most Rev. Mark Brennan, Bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, for the closure of St. Agnes School, which currently serves students in the Pre-K- eighth-grade levels.

“With an enrollment of only 40 students,” the petition stated, “the need for an ongoing $300,000 subsidy is simply not sustainable. Our staff and Advisory Board members have attempted decreasing tuition and improved outreach efforts to increase the number of students over the past three years, but enrollment has continued to decline.”

In the petition, the Parish and School said declining enrollment has resulted in a $300,000 budget shortfall for the 2019-2020 school year. The Diocese has provided the school with funding to offset this shortfall.

“For nearly a century, St. Agnes School in Charleston has provided a quality, Christ-centered education for thousands of students. This decision is not an easy one to make and I want to thank the St. Agnes Parish community for their efforts to help continue operations at the school. I also want to thank those parents who continue to choose a Catholic education for their children. I would much rather see new schools being built than having ones close, but, given the circumstances, I will reluctantly accept the recommendations of the Parish community of St. Agnes,” Escalante said.

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