"Due to a sustained and serious decline in enrollment, combined with the economic realities facing communities across the Commonwealth and nation, Hudson Catholic High School announced it will close at the conclusion of the academic year in June 2009.
Hudson Catholic High School currently has 120 students; down from 200 in 2004, with next year's enrollment showing an even more significant drop to 96 students. Hudson Catholic High School is one of four parish high schools in the Archdiocese of Boston. In recent years most of the Archdiocese's Catholic High Schools established independent boards to govern their schools.
In making the announcement, Rev. Ronald G. Calhoun, Pastor, St. Michael's Parish said, "This is a heart wrenching decision for all involved. Over several months, we have taken a very close look at recent and projected enrollment trends, the increasing deficit of the High School and the impact of that debt on the parish. The economic realities facing everyone, including the Church, have forced us to look at what is possible given the resources we have at our disposal. We looked very closely at making sure we continue to deliver an excellent Catholic education to families, while being careful not to diminish the important work we do as a parish for our Catholic community. When all the data was examined it was clear that we have to close our High School."
Hudson Catholic High School leadership and staff will work with the Catholic Schools Office of the Archdiocese of Boston to assist students and their families in the transition to a new Catholic High School for the Fall 2009.
Teachers and staff will work with the Catholic Schools Office to facilitate applications for other positions at Catholic schools within the Archdiocese of Boston.
Fr. Calhoun noted that, despite the difficult news about Hudson Catholic, the parish was committed to maintaining Catholic education at St. Michael's Elementary School, where enrollment has stabilized and is showing signs of growth. Fr. Calhoun said, "I want to reassure you that, despite the difficult news at Hudson Catholic, we are committed to maintaining St. Michael's Elementary School and to working to increase enrollment over the next several years. Some may ask why close one and not the other or why both can not remain open. The simple reason is enrollment is stable and showing signs of increasing at St. Michael's, while at Hudson Catholic it is declining substantially. In addition, the economic realities of declining enrollment weigh heavily on our parish and its ability to carry out its mission in our community."
Currently there are 160 students enrolled at St. Michael's Elementary School, with enrollment expected to increase to at least 180 in the next academic year. The goal is to grow enrollment in future years to between 200-225 students, whch is about the school's maximum capacity.
Fr. Calhoun also announced that St. Michael's Elementary School will move into the high school's building in the Fall of 2009. The high school facilities offer additional resources and space that are not available in the current elementary school. Furthermore, because of some very generous benefactors there have been upgrades made at the High School including two new science labs, a science prep room and renovations to the gymnasium, which will now enhance the academic program for our elementary school students. Fr. Calhoun added that, "Improvements like this will assist us in recruitment and increasing enrollment. We will establish a committee to assist us in making sure that this transition is smooth and completed on time for the Fall academic year. We want to be respectful of the presence of Hudson Catholic in our parish community, while at the same time making certain we utilize these valuable resources in the future."
Fr. Calhoun reinforced the fact that the parish is mindful of the cost of tuition and therefore they will continue to operate a robust marketing and fundraising effort to help keep costs reasonable for parents and the parish."