Catholic school leaders in Appleton call the decision to close two elementary schools "bittersweet."
The Board of Directors of the St. Francis Xavier Catholic School System, still known as Aces Xavier, voted Friday to close Catholic Central and St. Bernadette Elementary schools at the end of the 2013-2014 school year.
In the fall of 2014, St. Pius X and St. Thomas Moore will house the elementary students, under one new name: St. Francis Xavier Elementary School.
"We're recognizing that times certainly change, economics change, demographics change," St. Francis Xavier Catholic School System President Ray DuBois said. "We're in a situation now where we need to identify and implement the Catholic school system that's gonna be financially sustainable."
The consolidation is part of a larger transformation for the system, including changing the middles school to grades 5-8. That announcement came in December.
System leaders say tuition covers 60% of costs, and consolidating is part of an overall system-wide goal.
"We need to come up with a model that's going to be financially sustainable over time," DuBois said.
Committees have formed at each elementary school to help in the transition.
Over the next 18 months, decisions will be made on staffing and what to do with the soon-to-be empty schools, which are owned by the parishes.
"It's not a situation where we've made a decision, slammed the door and said hurry up, pack your books and go someplace else," DuBois said. "The 18 months is going to be a very measured transition."
A meeting is scheduled Tuesday to discuss the changes from 6:00-7:30pm at the Grand Meridian in Appleton.
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