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Immaculate Conception elementary school in Elkton, Md., recommended for closing in June 2020

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Catholic students take part in the Blessing of the animals on Oct. 4, 2019 with Father James Yeakel of Immaculate Conception School.

ELKTON – Rising fiscal deficits and dwindling enrollment have led leaders at Immaculate Conception to decide the parish elementary school should cease operations in June.

Pastor James Yeakel will make the final recommendation to Bishop Malooly by Dec. 1, according to Louis De Angelo, Diocese of Wilmington schools superintendent, who said meetings with faculty/staff and parents/guardians were held Nov. 13 to discuss the future of the school.

“At both meetings a state-of-the-school presentation was offered,” De Angelo said in a statement. “ICS presented a very strong and vibrant message in areas of faith formation, academics, and development. However, the declining enrollment (181 students in FY16 and 113 students today) and escalating finances led to the recommendation to the pastor by the pastoral council and finance council that ICS could not continue to operate after June 30, 2020.”

“The school board has worked to address the financial situation,” De Angelo said. “In the end, however, ICS would face, over the next five years, a deficit of $285,000 per year, given an uncertain enrollment of 115 students annually.”

De Angelo outlined support options for families who wish their children to continue in a Catholic school.

  • A one-time (2020-2021 school year) Continuing Catholic Education Grant of $1,000 per student will be offered by any school willing to receive students.
  • An evening will be offered at which interested receiving schools will be invited to ICS to meet families.
  • A universal shadow day will be provided at which students may shadow at the schools of their choice.

For teachers and staff the following supports will be put in place.

  • A meeting with the diocesan HR Director will be arranged to assist with questions/concerns and resume writing/interview practices.
  • Qualified educators and staff members wishing to continue to serve in the Diocese of Wilmington will have their information shared with other schools on a priority list.
  • Ongoing meetings with faculty and staff will be available with Carol Ripken, associate superintendent, and De Angelo.

Immaculate Conception school was opened in 1927 by the Ursuline Sisters. The Glen Riddle Franciscans followed the Ursuline Sisters in 1930. The school reached its peak enrollment of 554 students in the 1960s, according to the school website.

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