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Closing of St. Barbara School

PRESS RELEASE

June 27, 2022

SUBJECT: Closing of Massillon St. Barbara School

MORE INFO: Mary Fiala, Superintendent of Catholic Schools, (330) 744-8451, mfiala@youngstowndiocese.org

The Most Reverend David J. Bonnar, Bishop of Youngstown, has approved the request of Very Rev. Canon Maciej (Matthew) Mankowski, pastor of St. Barbara School in Massillon, and the Diocese of Youngstown’s Office of Catholic Schools, to close St. Barbara School, effective immediately.

Father Mankowski announced the closing of the school on Friday to school families and teachers, and over the weekend to parishioners “with a heavy heart and sadness.” In his letter to the parish and school communities, Father Mankowski wrote that the original plan for the 2022-2023 school year was for both St. Barbara and St. Mary Schools in Massillon to remain open by hiring one principal for both schools. “Unfortunately, because of low enrollment for the next academic year at St. Barbara School reflected by 61 students in grades K-8 and only 9 students registered for pre-school, we realized that we needed to change the course of action.” Father Mankowski also noted that several teachers and staff members were leaving St. Barbara School, and the loss of generous alumni and parishioners who provided financial support, and that “possibility of accumulating a financial debt of over two hundred thousand dollars if the school was to remain open for the next academic year.”

Families and children, along with remaining St. Barbara teachers, have been invited to join St. Mary School in Massillon, with an open house scheduled for this week with new principal Lucia D. Huddelston, PhD. St. Barbara School leaders will also communicate with and work with families to assist their transition to St. Mary School or another school. Father Mankowski wrote, “It is my sincere hope and prayer that having one strong and financially viable Catholic school in the city of Massillon will allow us to provide high quality education and preserve our Catholic identity for the future.” Bishop Bonnar also wrote to parents and parishioners, acknowledging, “I know . . . you are sad for what you will be losing. But as the Catholic Community of Massillon we need to be proactive rather than reactive.” He continued, “The aim of this combined effort is to provide high quality Catholic education that protects and fosters the importance of Catholic identity.”

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