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St. Joseph Catholic School in Pine Bluff Closing

Decision made after only 42 students pre-register for the 2013-2014 school year.
PINE BLUFF, AR - St. Joseph Catholic School in Pine Bluff has announced it will close at the end of the school year.

The school, with grades five through 12, made the decision based on the low pre-registration of only 42 students for the 2013-2014 school year.

In consultation with Bishop Anthony B. Taylor, superintendent Vernell Bowen and principal Alexandra Pritchett announced the decision to the staff, parents and parishioners on Wednesday.

Because of the decreased enrollment and a decline in the ability of St. Joseph Church to subsidize the school, Bishop Taylor placed the school under the managerial supervision of the Diocesan Office of Catholic Schools in May 2012.

In February, the office conducted a feasibility study that revealed enrollment dropped by more than 50-percent from 109 students in grades seven to 12 in 2006 down to 42 students in grades five to 12 in 2013. The study also revealed that an enrollment of 100 students is needed for financial viability.

The school has been able to operate financially this year because of $38,000 in pledges to the "Save St. Joseph School" campaign and $160,000 in school reserves.

The school is expected to exhaust all of its funds by June 30 in meeting its current financial obligations.
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