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St. Joseph School in Harvard to close by end of year, Rockford Diocese says

Sarah Nader- snader@shawmedia.com
Staff at St. Joseph's School in Harvard got word from the Archdiocese of Rockford that they might be closing by the end of the year.  2016 marks the 100th year for the school, which has an enrollment of 57 students.
Sarah Nader- snader@shawmedia.com Staff at St. Joseph's School in Harvard got word from the Archdiocese of Rockford that they might be closing by the end of the year. 2016 marks the 100th year for the school, which has an enrollment of 57 students.

HARVARD – St. Joseph Catholic School in Harvard will close by May 24, according to a news release from the Diocese of Rockford.

The 100-year-old school with an enrollment of 57 students from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade was being reviewed by the Diocese of Rockford after years of declining enrollment and funds.

St. Joseph’s Pastor Steven Clarke and Rockford Diocese Superintendent of Schools Michael Kagan met with staff to tell them the decision Thursday, according to the release.

A special meeting was held Thursday night to share the news with parents and parishioners.

“The parish is currently providing almost two-thirds of the resources to cover the cost of operating a school that works to educate an ever-dwindling number of children,” Clarke said in a statement, adding that the difficult decision will make for a stronger future for the parish.

Families can transfer to St. Mary Catholic School in Woodstock, the release stated, and transportation will be offered.

St. Joseph teachers also will be given priority to any openings within the Diocesan Catholic School system.

St. Joseph parent Jen Garafol said she will probably send her 10-year-old son, Logan Garafol, to public schools because of how long it would take to transport him to St. Mary.

Although she said parents were aware of the financial situation of the school for years, she wishes they would’ve had more notice on the closure.

“The most disheartening thing is it’s supposed to be a Catholic family and everything else, and we were kept in the dark,” Garafol said.

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