Wildwood Catholic and Cape Trinity Catholic School To CLOSE for Good
Below is a press release that Fr. Wallace put out today.
Dear Wildwood Catholic and Cape Trinity Catholic School families:
This letter is perhaps one of the most difficult letters for us to write to you. We know you are all aware how hard we have all been working together to combine our two schools into Wildwood Catholic Academy. The fruit of that work produced a plan and a budget that, while with some further work needed, produced an acceptable budget to give it our best effort for the next academic year. These plans and hopes, unfortunately, have been scuttled due to the devastating realities of the coronavirus pandemic. Our already tenuous enrollment estimations have diminished, our abundantly hopeful fund-raising expectations look rather bleak, and our growing debt unsurmountable. In conversation with the Diocese of Camden and the Office of Catholic Schools we have come to the mutual conclusion that our beloved schools will not be able to open in the coming school year.
Over the last five years, Wildwood Catholic and Cape Trinity Catholic’s enrollment has decreased by unsustainable numbers. This was the reason we turned to the idea of a combined Wildwood Catholic Academy. Our enrollment was promising to increase until the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic. As were our hopes for increasing revenue from several hopeful fund-raising endeavors also scuttled by the pandemic.
We have been able to continue to operate because the diocese has given us $750,000 in loans over the last two years due to the average enrollment at Wildwood Catholic HS hovering around 140 students. This loan must be paid back by Notre Dame de la Mer Parish. With the continued decrease in enrollment, we would not be able to balance our budget for the foreseeable future. Although Cape Trinity Catholic has barely been able to maintain an enrollment of under 200 students during the past few years, it is anticipated that the school’s enrollment would decline sharply with the closure of Wildwood Catholic alone.
Three other schools in the diocese will close this year as well. Closure decisions were made in conversation with pastors, with insight from advisory boards of schools that have them, and with input from the Diocesan Finance Council, College of Consultors, Office of Catholic Schools and Finance Office.
The timing of this decision is especially painful as our school community and parish continues to navigate the impact of the coronavirus. Your response to the rapid change to remote learning during this time of social distancing has been so supportive and shows your total dedication to your children and their Catholic education. The way our community has gone through this experience together so far has further heightened the value of a Catholic school education, academically and spiritually. We look forward to working with you in that spirit for the rest of this school year.
If possible, we hope you will be able to continue a Catholic school education for your child. We have been assured that there is availability at all diocesan schools for students in schools that will close this year.