ELYRIA — St. Mary School will be open for a 161st year, its principal said Thursday night after learning the good news.
With enrollment at many Catholic schools declining for several decades, the school was in danger of being shuttered after this year if it failed to reach its enrollment goal of 130 students by the end of February.
It met the goal, Principal Sharon Urig said, with enrollment for the coming school year at 142.
The diocesan school has been in Elyria for 160 years. As of Feb. 8, its enrollment was 111 in pre-K through eighth grade, leaving its future in doubt.
As of Thursday, “we have enough (students) to keep the finance committee happy,” Urig said.
The school is one of 110 in the Diocese of Cleveland, and one of three diocesan schools in Elyria along with St. Jude and Elyria Catholic High School.
Tuition at St. Mary is $5,150 per year, though with scholarships and financial aid the cost is often significantly less for families. The state’s Educational Choice Scholarship, or EdChoice, also allows students at struggling public schools to enroll in participating private schools.
The school also provides busing for students from the Wellington, Keystone and Midview school districts and the Elyria Boys & Girls Club on Middle Avenue.
More than 2,300 Catholic schools in the United States have closed since 2000, while about 300 have opened. Catholic schools also have lost more than 435,000 students in the last decade, a 19 percent decline.