After a difficult year of pandemic-accelerated enrollment losses and hobbled fundraising, six elementary schools in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles will close in June as one of the nation’s largest private educational systems struggles to keep many of its schools afloat.
The schools largely enrolled children of working-class Latino families in many of the communities hardest hit during the pandemic. Parents have lost jobs and could no longer afford tuition that ranges from about $3,900 to $6,000 annually, leading to enrollment drops. The fiestas, jog-a-thons and bingo nights that boosted finances were canceled. The schools had been struggling for years, and the pandemic broke their ability to stay afloat, school officials said.
Systemwide, enrollment suffered an unprecedented decline last fall, with an estimated 10% drop of about 7,195 students. Though some enrollment trickled back through the school year, the school system has yet to recover from the Great Recession years, when Catholic schools lost 7,909 students, or 8.93%, from 2008 to 2010.