HARTFORD – SS. Cyril and Methodius School will close at the end of the academic year, and the families of its students will receive financial assistance in continuing their Catholic education at St. Augustine School.
“After careful review and consultation with parish trustees and the financial committee of SS. Cyril and Methodius in Hartford, it was determined that parish resources can no longer sustain the school, which currently enrolls 80 students,” said a press release issued by the Archdiocese of Hartford.
The school first opened its doors in 1904.
“Closing a school is always very difficult,” said Father Adam Hurbanczuk, pastor of SS. Cyril and Methodius Parish. “Despite the help we receive from the Archdiocese of Hartford through the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal Tuition Assistance Program, the Catholic School Support Program and other donations, we can no longer afford the operational costs needed to keep the school open.”
A transition of families to St. Augustine School, or to any other Catholic school in the Archdiocese of Hartford, will be encouraged and financially assisted by $500 tuition scholarships awarded by SS. Cyril and Methodius Parish to each student for the 2014-15 school year, provided that the family is current with their financial obligations. School registration fees will also be waived for the 2014-15 school year.
Joy Chlus, principal of SS. Cyril and Methodius, said the main priority is helping students at every grade level adjust to their new school environment. She said she and Father Hurbanczuk consulted with St. Augustine School administrators and the archdiocesan Office of Catholic Schools to identify ways to ease the students’ transition.
As a result, two dates have been scheduled for SS. Cyril and Methodius students to visit St. Augustine to become acquainted with it. The first was set for May 19, when students and their parents had the chance to tour St. Augustine School, meet teachers and have lunch with the students.
On May 30, St. Augustine will host a field day at which students from both schools may participate in games, attend a book fair, receive a school T-shirt and share in a barbecue.
St. Augustine School will also offer a five-week summer camp, open to prekindergarten to third grade students, for which registration is underway.
“It’s important that SS. Cyril and Methodius students feel welcome at St. Augustine, and know that if they choose our school, they will receive an excellent faith-filled education in a safe and nurturing environment,” said Father José Mercado, pastor of St. Augustine.
“I am also encouraged that many of our students’ families attend our Masses on Sundays to experience God’s grace together as a family, and I look forward to offering our new families this same wonderful opportunity.”
Under Father Mercado’s leadership, St. Augustine has developed a family resource center facilitated by the Sisters of Our Lady of Fatima, who serve families of the school. St. Augustine also has a full-time enrollment director who reaches out to the community by introducing new families to the school.
A Hartford Task Force on Education, comprising academic professionals, parents and business leaders, has been formed to study and recommend proactive, strategic initiatives to safeguard the future of Catholic-school education in the city of Hartford. Dr. David Larson, a former Archdiocesan School Board member and executive director of the Connecticut Public School Superintendents, has been named chairman.
“It is never too late or too early to begin an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of Catholic-school education within the archdiocese. I look forward to collaborating with the task force and the archdiocesan Office of Catholic Schools to develop short- and long-term plans to maintain the viability and sustainability of Catholic-school education in Hartford,” said Dr. Larson.