Diocese of Pittsburgh upholds decision to merge St. Philip and St. Margaret schools

The Diocese of Pittsburgh has denied an appeal filed by students and parents attempting to stop the merger of Saint Philip and Saint Margaret schools.

The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh recently announced in February that the 106-year-old Saint Philip elementary school will merge with Saint Margaret school in Green Tree, with the newly merged school to be located at the Saint Margaret of Scotland campus. Families recently started a petition to keep the school open, with more than 2,000 signatures.

The diocese said the decision to merge the schools was based on recommendations from South Regional Catholic Elementary Schools (SRCES) leaders.

The announcement explained that the recommendations were made after more than a year of careful study of financial and demographic data, student enrollment trends, and consultation with representatives of the parish and school communities in determining the best possible way to continue to provide a Catholic school education for the children in the south region.

The merger reflects the efforts of the new regional governing board to keep Catholic schools affordable and accessible, according to a news release. In the Diocese of Pittsburgh, over the past 50 years, the regional population has dropped by about 30%. Student population in all schools — public, private and Catholic — has reflected this trend.

“The sense of loss, and even anger, that some people are experiencing over these necessary decisions reflects their deep love for their school, and they are in my prayers,” Bishop David Zubik said. “However, it’s also important to recognize and thank the many others who have come together in support of the newly merged schools and Catholic education. All of us — at all times, and especially during this holy season of Lent — should strive to be like Jesus in how we choose to deal with difficulties and disappointments.”