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Last Salem County Catholic school to close

Faced with a deficit and declining enrollment, the last Catholic school in Salem County, N.J. - which draws heavily from Gloucester County - will close at the end of the academic year.

Faced with a deficit and declining enrollment, the last Catholic school in Salem County, N.J. - which draws heavily from Gloucester County - will close at the end of the academic year.

In a letter sent this week to parents of students, the Diocese of Camden said Bishop Guilfoyle Regional Catholic School in Carneys Point had suffered from a 30 percent population drop in its area during the last 50 years.

That shift contributed to "a marked decline in enrollment from our peak of 373 students in 2001-02 to just 111 this year," the letter stated. With less tuition income, the school deficit is expected to reach almost $400,000 this year.

The school, overseen by the diocese, receives nearly half of its students from Swedesboro, according to diocese spokesman Andy Walton.

Three Catholic schools - Guardian Angels in Gibbstown, St. Margaret in Woodbury Heights, and St. Michael the Archangel in Clayton - will accept Guilfoyle students in the fall, Walton said. Families that keep their children in a Catholic school will get $1,000 tuition vouchers, he said.