MERIDEN, CT (WFSB) -- The last Catholic school in Meriden is closings its doors at the end of the academic school year.
In an announcement on Wednesday, officials announced that Our Lady of Mount Carmel would be closing, citing demographic shifts resulting in low enrollment as a reason.
Officials said the low enrollment has created financial shortfalls making it impossible for the parish to continue to support its school.
“This was not an easy decision to make since Our Lady of Mount Carmel School has been offering Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 8 students in the Meriden area an outstanding Catholic school education for over 75 years. OLMC is the last of seven Catholic schools in Meriden, so every effort was made to keep the school viable. Unfortunately, the parish can no longer afford to sustain the distinguished legacy of Catholic elementary education in Meriden, and we had to make the difficult decision to close,” said Rev. Thomas Sievel.
The school’s current enrollment stands at 161, down 23 percent from last year and down 19 percent over the past three years.
Principal Micheal Frechette said the school is already losing money and is not just economically visible going forward.
That means 130 children have to find a new school to attend in the fall.
School officials are encouraging families of currently enrolled students to consider transferring to another Catholic school in a nearby community.
They're also trying to help faculty members find new jobs.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel serves students from pre-k through eighth grade.
Frechette said this is a devastating loss for families and the city.
"It’s just a wonderful warm place and it’s really a sad moment for Meriden," Frechette said.
He adds that this is a nationwide trend, where 35,000 students across the country left Catholic schools this year.