Catholic School Closing

MOUNDSVILLE – Classes at St. Francis Xavier School in Moundsville will not resume this fall after parish officials Thursday chose to close the school effective immediately.

Bryan Minor, Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston spokesman, said the parish finance council of St. Francis Xavier Parish met Thursday evening and decided the school, which offered preschool and kindergarten programs, would be closed immediately.

The decision was accepted and ratified by the Rev. Ranjan Prakash Ekka. Minor said the parish based its decision on decreasing finances at the parish and the school, located at 600 Jefferson Ave.

Minor said, according to diocesan policy, a parish does not need the approval of the bishop to close a preschool program. St. Francis Xavier had been accepting students in prekindergarten and kindergarten for the upcoming school year. In total, five faculty and staff members will be affected, as will 36 students who were enrolled for the upcoming year. Parents of those students were notified via telephone Friday morning.

St. Francis Xavier Principal Sharon Wolen said while the decision is disappointing, she and her staff will continue to help the students in any way they can.

“Although the parish has chosen to close the school, our staff will assist parents and families in making the transition to other preschool and kindergarten programs,” she said, adding the school office will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. next week to handle calls from parents.

Vincent de Paul Schmidt, superintendent of Schools for the diocese, said the diocese was also disappointed by the closure, especially after the effort put in to keeping the school afloat.

“We are deeply saddened when a school closes, particularly after so much hard work, prayer and resources were dedicated to rebuilding St. Francis Xavier School,” he said. “We have tremendous compassion for everyone being influenced by the closing of the school, particularly the families that are affected.”