Catholic Diocese of Rockford closes six schools in two years


ROCKFORD REGISTER STAR —

SOUTH BELOIT – Two weeks after announcing the closing of St. James School in Belvidere, the Diocese of Rockford has announced the closing of another Catholic elementary school in the Rockford area.

Families of St. Peter Catholic Church in South Beloit were informed last week that their parish’s school – St. Peter School – would be closing at the end of the school year because of a lack students, financial debt and the uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Boone-Winnebago Regional Office of Education, the school had 81 students preK through eighth grade in fall 2019.

The Rev. Steven M. Sabo, pastor of St. Peter Church, broke the news to families in a May 20 letter outlining the school’s financial struggles coupled with dwindling enrollment.

According to the letter, St. Peter School is more than $220,000 in debt, and at the close of registration May 15, had 56 students enrolled for the 2020-2021 school year in grades kindergarten through eighth.

“Be assured that I share the loss of our parish school with all of you,” Sabo wrote. “And as difficult and painful as this decision is, as soon as we are able to do so publicly, we will need to gather for a special celebration in Christ’s name, to not only thank our children, families and school faculty for their many sacrifices and contributions but also to mark the joy of the Catholic educational legacy written in our history here by St. Peter School.”

A similar letter was sent to the families of St. James School in Belvidere earlier this month.

The recent closings come less than a year after the closing of three other schools and the opening of All Saints Catholic Academy in Rockford.

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