St. Margaret of Scotland School to Merge with Neighboring School in Fall 2007

February 09, 2007

The Archdiocese of Washington today announced that St. Margaret of Scotland School in Seat Pleasant, Maryland will merge with Mount Calvary School in Forestville in Fall 2007. St. Margaret’s was one of four schools recently engaged in a broad-based consultation process about their future. While the decision about the other schools was announced on January 25, St. Margaret parish was given additional time to determine the future sustainability of its school.

On February 1, the pastor, Rev. David Lupo, SSCC, informed the Archdiocese that he had accepted a recommendation from an archdiocesan advisory group to consolidate the 150-student school. St. Margaret’s has experienced a 42 percent enrollment decline over the past five years and has a projected deficit this year of $280,000.

In writing to Fr. Lupo this week, Washington Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl took note of the enrollment and financial challenges of the school, but also “the hard work and commitment of [St. Margaret] school and parish communities.”

A priority of the Archdiocese is ensuring an affordable, accessible Catholic education for its students. Space is available in other Catholic schools for all students from St. Margaret and the two other schools that will consolidate: Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Southeast Washington, DC and St. Benedict the Moor in Northeast Washington, DC. To ensure a smooth transition, Archdiocesan Catholic Schools Office staff is holding meetings with the faculty, staff and parents at each school. Faculty will be assisted with applying to other Catholic schools and parents with enrolling their children in a neighboring school. Discussions have not been held about the future use of the buildings.

The fourth school involved in the consultation process, Holy Redeemer in Northwest Washington, DC, will remain open at this time, but continue to be monitored while the parish addresses significant issues, including financial support, staffing levels and academic achievement.

The consultation process for the four elementary schools followed a review of many of the Archdiocese’s 75 parochial (parish-based) elementary schools by the Catholic Schools Office and a recommendation by the Archdiocesan Administrative Board that the schools consolidate. The review considered enrollment trends, academic achievement, facility needs and finances. Enrollment in the schools had dropped by as much as 42 percent over the past five years while subsidies for the schools increased, reaching $600,000 at one school alone this year. Meetings were held with parish councils, school advisory boards, staffs and parents to solicit their input. Additional information submitted by these groups was reviewed, and the Archdiocesan Board of Education, Priests’ Council and Center City Consortium Board were consulted.

The Archdiocese of Washington includes 111 schools in Washington, DC and five counties in suburban and southern Maryland. Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School will open in Takoma Park in Fall 2007 to provide low- to moderate-income students with an affordable, college-preparatory education.

Susan Gibbs
Director of Communications
[email protected]