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Plan To Merge Several Catholic Schools Leaves Parents Disappointed

PERRYSVILLE (KDKA) -- Members of the St. Teresa of Avila parish in Perrysville left morning Mass with some unsettling news. Their elementary school will soon merge with St. Sebastian school.

As a result, students in grades 1-8 will move to St. Sebastian and only Pre-K and Kindergarten students will attend St. Teresa.

"We're sorry to see that our school is not going to be open for our youngest kid," said parent Rick Taschner.

"We spent a lot of time here, lot of years, put a lot of time in, lot of tremendous memories," said parent Chris Yakm. "It's more than a school, it's a faith community."

It's all part of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh effort to create a regional education system. Starting this fall, 32 parishes will support 10 Catholic elementary schools under the newly formed North Hills Regional Catholic Elementary Schools Inc.

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Bishop David Zubik believes the new system will make elementary schools more vibrant.

"There's every hope tuition will not only be stabilized but will be lowered, enrollment will in fact go up, " he said.

Bishop Zubik said a regional administrator will take over certain duties, allowing principals to focus more on academics.

Other schools being merged are St. Bonaventure in Shaler, St. Ursula in Allison Park which will be closed and St. Mary the Assumption in Glenshaw will form one school. Pre-K classes will be held at St. Bonaventure while grades K-8 will attend St. Mary of the Assumption.

"We still have a Catholic school we can go to, so we're grateful for that," said parent Laura Taschner

Bishop Zubik said the school regionalization program will be watched closely and, if successful, it will be the model for other school districts in the Catholic Diocese.

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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