Burbank Catholic high school to take yearlong hiatus

Higher operating costs and a decade-long decline in enrollment led to decision to restructure Bellarmine-Jefferson High School operations

(image from Angelus)

When students at Bellarmine-Jefferson High School (Bell-Jeff) in Burbank break for summer vacation next year, the school’s operations will officially take a yearlong hiatus to allow administrators to focus on restructuring the school’s education program for the fall of 2019.

Higher operating costs and a decade-long decline in enrollment led to the decision to restructure the school program. Over the past decade, the student body at Bell-Jeff — which was founded in 1944 by Msgr. Martin Cody Keating — has dwindled from 295 students to 98 students.

School administrators will be working with families to place this year’s freshmen, sophomores and juniors at other Catholic high schools. They will also help find new positions for the faculty and staff members.

“Students will be given priority status in enrolling at local Catholic high schools, as well as transitional tuition assistance and reimbursement for new uniforms,” said Dr. Kevin Baxter, senior director and superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Full story at Angelus.

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  1. This is an irresponsible action. The students’ education should be given the highest priority! The administration, school staff, parents and students can work on a restructuring plan while the school is operating. I’ve worked in several private and public schools that have restructured the program while simultaneously teaching students everyday. It was accomplished by working in the evenings and weekends. It is called dedication!

    • They’re going to close the school permanently and sell the property to a charter school. Claims of restructuring are a ruse to soften the impact of the announcement that the school will be sold when that announcement will be made next year. The school isn’t financially feasible with only 98 students attending and no prospects for attracting a large number of new students. Closing the school was the most responsible thing to do.

  2. And not a word as to why enrollment declined 67%. I would not bet heavily on this institution returning after the hiatus. Many current grade 9 and 10 students will become attached to their new schools. Many parents will be reluctant to have grade 8 graduates to enroll.

    • It is going to be harder and harder for Catholic schools to be affordable, especially in California. Costs go up significantly every year. Families are realizing that it’s just not worth it anymore to make the huge financial sacrifices to pay the skyrocketing tuition rates for either a Catholic elementary or high school education.

      • Steve Seitz says:

        Mike,
        I disagree. In my view, as society increasingly becomes hostile to Catholics and their values and as public schools increasingly become hotbeds of things contrary to Natural Law, I see parents [Catholic and non-Catholic] increasingly placing their children in Catholic schools despite the cost. I am one such parent.

        Nevertheless, I would agree that any Catholic school that abandons its Catholic culture will go further into decline.

    • Where have all the students gone???? Where have all the Sisters gone??? Hmmmm? Perhaps Vatican II was a big factor ??

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