Citing a number of economic factors, the Diocese of Trenton announced on Jan. 8 that Trenton Catholic Academy would close the doors of both its Upper and Lower Schools in June.
The diocese reported that the growing cost of providing a quality has “consistently outpaced tuition and fundraising income,” leaving the school with a $2 million deficit each year and a cumulative need for $24 million in financial support over the past 12 years.
Additionally, a special fund once established for the school has been nearly depleted.
The diocese in its statement also said that the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic has dealt a serious blow to families’ abilities to afford tuition and to strategic plans that had aimed to increase revenue.
As a result, the Diocese of Trenton accepted the recommendation of TCA president Michael Knowles that the Upper and Lower Schools — which together educate some 550 students — should close this June.
The diocese said that In the last 15 years, Trenton Catholic Academy’s Upper and Lower Schools in Hamilton Township have built a strong legacy in the areas of academics, athletics, faith formation and service to the community. The diocese also said TCA’s pre-K through 12th grade school has successfully served tens of thousands of students from diverse ethnic, racial and socioeconomic backgrounds, aided significantly through diocesan subsidy and a specially-established fund, as well as a strong network of benefactors, community partners and supporters of its mission.
The diocese reports that the Upper School has graduated nearly 1,000 students since opening its doorsand had met the hopes of the school’s late founding president, St. Joseph Sister Dorothy Payne, who wanted students to be “Good kids that live good lives that make the world a better place.”
“We have truly been blessed by so many generous people who believed in this mission and backed it up with their ‘sweat equity,’” Knowles said in the statement, Knowles has served as president since the death of Sister Dorothy in 2019.
Diocesan superintendent of Catholic Schools Vincent de Paul Schmidt pointed to steps that the diocese will take to assist TCA students transitioning to a new Catholic school next year.
“TCA students will be welcomed at Notre Dame High School in nearby Lawrenceville and at a number of Catholic elementary schools in close proximity to TCA so that Catholic education might continue to be available in Mercer County,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt also announced that the Diocese of Trenton intends to make some transitional scholarships available for the 2021-22 school year to students seeking to continue their education in one of the Catholic schools affiliated with the diocese or its parishes.
Knowles said that with the funds made available by the diocese, a transition plan will be worked out with TCA families.
A team of diocesan representatives will meet with the 57 TCA employees to review severance and benefits packages, and to offer assistance in finding employment.