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St. Ann School closes its doors

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St. Ann School of Cape Ann closed on Friday, ending 128 years of Catholic education. A dramatic drop in enrollment, from 189 students in 2010 to 90 this year, forced the school to close, the Archdiocese of Boston said in a prepared statement. St. Ann was founded in 1885 to educate the children of fishermen. In recent years, the decline of the city’s fishing industry, coupled with harsh economic conditions in other industries, made it harder for families to afford tuition at the pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade school. Tuition this year ranged from $3,000 for two days per week of preschool to $4,600 for children in kindergarten through eighth grade. In 2008, the Campaign for Catholic Schools, a fund-raising initiative run by the archdiocese, had set a goal to raise $4.5 million for St. Ann, to revamp curriculum, raise scholarship money, and repair the 125-year-old red-brick school building. But only $265,000 was raised over the five-year period. In April, the school’s board of trustees voted to close. The archdiocese said it would help teachers and staff find new jobs. “We know from past experience that the majority of faculty and staff are rehired in new positions,” said Terrence Donilon, the archdiocese’s spokesman.

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