Bayonne’s Marist High School will close in June after 65 years of operations, citing a $1 million dollar budget shortfall that has existed for several years.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“Marist High School is proud of its service to the community through six decades, maintaining the highest standards of Catholic education. This has been a painful and difficult decision for everyone involved,” President Peter Kane said in a statement.
“I am heartened by knowing the positive impact Marist has made in the lives of our current students, their families and alumni who have been so supportive of our efforts through this challenging process.”
He added that with Marist’s current enrollment of 235 students, down from 300 in 2015, the Catholic high school can no longer cover their budget.
“Despite our best efforts, we cannot continue to bridge the annual operational gap of over $1 million. The steady decline in enrollment, along with increasing expenses and the ongoing financial assistance we provide to our families has made this closure unavoidable.”
Furthermore, since 2008, enrollment at Marist has declined by more than half. Fewer students and the resulting loss in revenue through the years has created an operational deficit that depleted the school’s reserve despite aggressive fundraising efforts.
In 2017, the Marist brothers, and the school administration announced a “Save The School” campaign to raise $1.5 million necessary to continue operations, but were successful in bringing in only $750,000.
Since then time, those funds have been utilized to maintain continuity and to build a strategic plan which included the September 2018 hiring of President Peter G. Kane to explore available options to avoid the school’s closing.
This most recent development caps a decade-long, nationwide decline in Catholic education.
According to the National Catholic Educational Association, almost 1,000 elementary and secondary schools have closed since 2009.
In New Jersey alone, there have been over 100 closings in the past two decades.
Notable recent closings include St. Anthony High School in Jersey City, Queen of Peace High School in North Arlington and in June 2019, St. Mary of the Assumption High School in Elizabeth. All of them resulting from similar enrollment and revenue challenges faced by Marist.