FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA) — After more than a century, a catholic elementary school in Fort Smith is closing. The announcement was made Wednesday, July 17, at a town hall meeting with faculty and families.
Saint Boniface Catholic School, pre-kindergarten through sixth-grade, is closing its doors because of financial problems.
In a letter to families, Father Mario Jacobo said for the past couple of years the school and parish have struggled to fund operating expenses.
Superintendent of Catholic Schools with the Diocese of Little Rock Theresa Hall told KNWA, 120 students were enrolled last year.
As of July, only 72 students were enrolled for this upcoming school year, according to Hall.
If the school were to remain open this year with the drop in enrollment the parish would be at risk, according to Diocese of Little Rock Chancellor for Administrative Affairs Dennis Lee.
“We are very very sad and we will all grieve for the loss of another Catholic school,” Hall said.
Both Hall and Lee said the other two Catholic schools in Fort Smith, Christ the King and Immaculate Conception, are helping out.
Students are being directed and teachers are being encouraged to apply for the open positions at the other schools, according to Lee.
St. Boniface was established in 1887 and has been in Fort Smith since inception.
To see the press release from the Diocese of Little Rock, click here.