Our Lady of Fatima school to close

Our Lady of Fatima School in Wilmington Manor is closing at the end of the current school year.

Lou DeAngelo, Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Wilmington, says the school has been the victim of declining enrollment.

"What has happened, at least in the last five years, is that we've seen enrollment at Our Lady of Fatima has decreased almost by 50%. That creates the need for increased tuition and is a cycle that is hard to break," DeAngelo tells WDEL's Allan Loudell.

The school, in a sense, got a reprieve a few years ago when it gained some enrollment when St. Paul's school closed.

"That was about 30 or 40 students. That certainly wasn't enough to sustain the enrollment that was needed to keep Our Lady of Fatima in business," DeAngelo says.

DeAngelo says they've seen a geographic shift, as schools in the southern end of New Castle County have healthy enrollments. For example, Christ the Teacher in Glasgow is at capacity with a waiting list.

"So there are students who seek Catholic education, but perhaps it's not in the areas where some of the schools are located. So that we see an increase in growth going from Glasgow south into Middletown, and that would be where people probably are looking for additional support, in terms of Catholic education," DeAngelo says.

DeAngelo says Our Lady of Fatima was also a victim of the recession. He says the diocese is always looking for financial help for their school system.

"One of the things that would certainly be great is if there were individuals or foundations who are interested in supporting quality Catholic education who can come forward and help with what is really the greatest expense, which is the operational expense of the school," DeAngelo says.

Copyright © Jan 27, 2015, WDEL/Delmarva Broadcasting Company. All Rights Reserved.
Advanced permission from Delmarva Broadcasting Company required for publication or rebroadcast.