By LINDSAY CAREY
Two Southington Catholic schools have announced that they will be merging into one school for the 2015-2016 school year.
St. Dominic and St. Thomas churches announced the merge in a letter to parents and guardians on Jan. 9.
“In recognition of the current challenging environment, the Pastors, Trustees, and Finance members of St. Dominic and St. Thomas Churches have agreed the best way to ensure the ongoing viability of Catholic education in our community is to join together,” said the letter.
The two schools, which have about 120 students each, will become one at the St. Thomas School campus.
Reverend Nicholas Melo, pastor of the St. Thomas Parish, said that it made more sense for the two schools to collaborate for few different reasons.
“It’s not any one issue that led to this decision. Obviously numbers have declined a little bit with enrollment. We’re just looking at sustaining catholic educations and it just makes more sense to join,” said Rev. Melo.
He also said that the schools have been collaborating on various functions over the last few years, so the children already know each other.
The St. Thomas reverend said that he believes the merge will build a stronger school community and together the schools will be able to accomplish more.
Rev. Melo said that he has already received positive feedback from the members of the church after making the announcement last weekend.
“Almost all of them said it’s been a long time coming and should have been done years ago. It’s really a no brainer when you look at it,” said Melo.
In the past, some parents have tried to get the two schools to merge.
“There’s been talk for a long time, but nothing’s ever been done,” said Rev. Melo.
He also said that the long term goal is to see all of the Southington parishes endorse a Regional Catholic School.
“We would like to get the other three parishes in Southington to participate on a full basis and have it be a true Southington Catholic School,” said Rev. Melo.
There will be a Town Hall Meeting on Thurs., Feb. 5 at 6 p.m. at St. Aloysius, which will act as a question and answer meeting for parents.
The St. Thomas and St. Dominic parishes will also be seeking input from parents and parishioners in a survey, which will be coming out in the near future.
“With your help, we will forge a unique Catholic community school which will serve as a beacon of what it means to foster academic excellence and high achievement while educating our children within a faith-based environment,” said the letter to parents and guardians.