6 Catholic schools in working-class L.A. County neighborhoods close after pandemic hardships

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Pictured is Assumption Catholic School in Boyle Heights. The campus is one of six elementary schools that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles announced will close in June 2021.(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

Pictured is Assumption Catholic School in Boyle Heights. The campus is one of six elementary schools that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles announced will close in June 2021.(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

After a difficult year of pandemic-accelerated enrollment losses and hobbled fundraising, six elementary schools in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles will close in June as one of the nation’s largest private educational systems struggles to keep many of its schools afloat.

Assumption in Boyle Heights, Blessed Sacrament in Hollywood, St. Catherine of Siena in Reseda, St. Ferdinand in San Fernando, St. Francis of Assisi in Silver Lake and St. Madeleine in Pomona are scheduled to be closed as part of a consolidation plan announced this week.

The schools largely enrolled children of working-class Latino families in many of the communities hardest hit during the pandemic. Parents have lost jobs and could no longer afford tuition that ranges from about $3,900 to $6,000 annually, leading to enrollment drops. The fiestas, jog-a-thons and bingo nights that boosted finances were canceled. The schools had been struggling for years and the pandemic broke their ability to stay afloat, school officials said.

“This is a difficult and challenging time for our schools — schools that provide a service to our neediest children — and what you’re seeing here is a response to shifting demographics and declining enrollment that’s been happening for quite some time now,” L.A. Archdiocese Supt. Paul Escala said. “We need to shift resources and ensure that we are resourcing schools appropriately to provide the highest-quality Catholic education.”

Read the full story at LATimes.com.

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