Breaking News
More () »

Good Shepherd Catholic School slated to close at year's end, Archdiocese says

The school first made the announcement this past Friday, but they asked for a review of the decision after some parents shared concerns.

HILLSBORO, Mo. — Good Shepherd Catholic School in Hillsboro is closing its doors at the end of the academic school year. The school first made the announcement this past Friday, but they asked for a review of the decision after some parents shared concerns.

Father Ryan Weber said there wasn't enough money or staff to keep the school open. 

"We came to the realization that there would be this significant deficit and we needed to do something about it," he said. "It's really just not enough anymore for us to say it's feasible."

The school's K-8 program and Pre-K currently hold just over 100 students. Weber says the K-8 program is closing, but the Pre-K will stay open for now.

Weber said students have the option to attend three other area Catholic schools for the same tuition rate: St. Joseph, Our Lady, and St. Rose.

He also said they're committed to finding other jobs for staff within the Archdiocese once the school closes. While the school says the closure announcement is final, some parents say their fight is not over.

"There was no indication given to parents that this was even on the table," Alicia Donathan said.

She said the closure was shocking to her four children who attend the school.

"They were heartbroken," she said. "We like to say everybody is somebody to somebody at Good Shepherd and we really loved that about it."

Weber said he has the same feelings.

"No part of me wants to close this school, it's a wonderful part of my life here and I've loved being part of it," he said.

Donathan said she and all parents want to keep the school's legacy alive.

"We just really feel like we deserve the chance to solve our problems and keep this school around for the next however many years," she said.

Read the full e-mail Father Weber sent to parents Thursday on behalf of the school:

I am writing to you now to address the continuing situation regarding the future of Good Shepherd School. As many of you know, there was a request to review the financial statements used in evaluating the viability of the school and while we acknowledge some human error, these errors are not substantially significant in the overall historical financial picture. I asked the Archdiocese to review our data. In a 5-year financial review, they found no significant data points that would change the viability of the parish to support the school. There was a proposed financial projection submitted by select parishioners. These projections were compared by the Archdiocese to actual historical revenues and expenses and deemed unsustainable. After this financial review Archbishop Rozanski has affirmed Good Shepherd’s recommendation to close Good Shepherd School to protect the viability of the parish and has asked that I move forward with the original plan to close Good Shepherd School at the end of the 22-23 school year. This is a difficult decision, and our strong reactions are normal when faced with losing something that we love and that has produced so much good. I want to restate that, moving forward, we will continue to offer our preschool and catechetical programs. We will not abandon our duty to educate and form the youth of our parish even if how we facilitate that process is different.

This announcement comes in great contrast to the school board meeting this past Tuesday. I was very hopeful at the time that things might be able to come about differently for us. I can say that I have struggled with going along with this decision, but as the picture becomes clearer, I can say that it has made more sense to me. When it comes down to it, we find ourselves in a situation in which the parish could be viable and survive or in which the school could be. When faced with that reality the parish must be preserved. I want to say a huge thank you to those who proposed alternatives to closing the school, especially Deb Politte. This allowed me to make sure that we had looked into every possible course of action. When it was reviewed by the leadership at the Archdiocese however, it was deemed not to be feasible. I can see why they came to this conclusion and am beginning to come to grips with it emotionally as I am sure you are as well with this reality.

To watch 5 On Your Side broadcasts or reports 24/7, 5 On Your Side is always streaming on 5+. Download for free on Roku or Amazon Fire TV.

5 On Your Side news app

iPhone | Google Play

Before You Leave, Check This Out