FALL RIVER, MA – The Diocese of Fall River announced today that the financial impact of the COVID-19 crisis requires it to close two Catholic schools at the end of this school year. Coyle and Cassidy Middle School and High School in Taunton and St. Margaret Primary School in Buzzards Bay were relying on the Diocese to cover budget shortfalls, but the pandemic has made that unsustainable.
Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., said he made the decisions “with a heavy heart,” and apologized for informing families by video message because of social distancing during the pandemic. He said, however, that “Catholic schools are not only about the buildings but about a community that advances the Church’s mission” and focuses on the future. The bishop said, “By consolidating our resources and bringing students together in these schools we can continue to provide high quality Christ-centered education for all of our students.”
Coyle and Cassidy High School will consolidate operations with Bishop Connolly in Fall River, with free transportation provided to the 100 high school students coming from the Taunton area. Coyle and Cassidy Middle School students will transfer to Our Lady of Lourdes School in Taunton. St. Margaret Primary students will have a choice of three Catholic schools: St. Pius X in South Yarmouth, St. Joseph School in Fairhaven and St. Francis Xavier in Acushnet.
Superintendent Stephen A. Perla said, “While we sincerely regret having to close any of our Catholic schools, the ultimate goal is to strengthen all remaining schools to ensure Catholic education is available for many years to come.”
Perla stressed that successful education initiatives will continue, including STEM programming and facilities at Coyle and Cassidy, which will be transferred to the Our Lady of Lourdes building for middle schoolers.
The three schools providing options for the St. Margaret’s students are eager to help ease their transition and none will see any tuition increase, Perla said.
“We are committed to helping our families transition to another Catholic school that best suits their needs,” said Perla, noting that current applications for financial aid and scholarships will follow the students.
For over a century, Catholic schools have educated thousands of children in the Diocese of Fall River. Today, there are about 5700 students in Pre-K through 12th grade in 22 Catholic schools from Attleboro to Cape Cod. Catholic education continues to be recognized for its rigorous academic education while providing the moral and faith formation according to the teachings of Jesus Christ.
For more information about the Catholic Schools Alliance, please go to www.catholicschoolsalliance.org.
About the Catholic Schools Alliance
The Catholic Schools Alliance comprises administrators, teachers, staff, parents and clergy joined in partnership to educate the children of the Diocese of Fall River in Catholic faith and values. Our schools have a demanding educational culture that helps students from across the academic spectrum reach their God-given potential. With an emphasis on service and respect for the dignity of every person, we prepare students to meet the challenges of today’s diverse world and become meaningful contributors to society.
Sandi M. Duxbury
VP of Marketing and Corporate Partnerships
Catholic Schools Alliance
Phone: (508) 878-4586
Director of Communications
Fall River Diocese
Phone: (508) 642-6541