Well-Known Catholic School in Everett May Close its Doors

Officials with Pope John XXIII High said the school will likely close in June after the company that funds them walked away

A well-known Catholic school in Everett, Massachusetts, may soon be closing its doors.

Officials with Pope John XXIII High School sent a letter to parents and guardians Tuesday saying despite efforts by the Board of Trustees, administration and faculty, it's likely the school will close after the academic year in June after the company that funds them walked away.

Carl DiMaiti, head of school at Pope John, said a final decision will be made no later than May 23.

In Tuesday's letter to parents and guardians, DiMaiti reminded them the school was deteriorating financially back in October.

"I wrote to parents and guardians about the deterioration in the financial condition of International Residence Management, (IRM), formerly known as United Schools Association. IRM has failed to meet the obligations of its agreement with the School. This has resulted in a $1 million shortfall, from which we simply are unable to overcome," wrote DiMaiti.

He added that school officials have tried to explore many options to keep the school viable after IRM's "failure to honor its commitment to Pope John XXIII".

"The Board has determined that the School is simply not in a position at this time to make up the shortfall in revenue caused by IRM’s default. We would need to raise funds in the millions to contemplate opening the school for the 2019/2020 academic year," wrote DiMaiti.

He went on to say that because Pope John XXIII High School has educated students for more than 50 years, the news is especially difficult.

"Pope John XXIII exists for the good of our students, faculty, staff, parents and the wider community. This news is not a reflection on the Pope John XXIII community. It is unfortunately the result of a company not keeping its agreement," wrote DiMaiti.

Senior Sophia Elhirach said she's very sad that she may be one of the last students who may be graduating from the school.

"It's really sad to know that we won't have a place to go back to because here at Pope John, everybody that graduates comes back," said Elhirach.

The Catholic prep school has nearly 300 students — 70 of them international.

"A lot of my friends have been talking about either transferring, to another catholic school, but the people who can't afford it are talking about going to their local public school," said senior Korine Haidul.

Junior Vicktor Williams Barrios says it takes him an hour and a half to get to school but he doesn't want to think about going anywhere else.

"I'm thinking about keeping this place open. Getting all the donors I can, speaking to the Archdiocese, speaking to everybody I can and make sure this place stays open," he said.

Steph Palermo, who graduated in 1984, said she feels a sense of betrayal.

"Especially in a Catholic, Christian community, to have this happen to you. We feel violated," said Palermo

School officials say they plan to work with the Catholic Schools Office of the Archdiocese of Boston to develop a plan for students who wish to further their Catholic school education.

Officials with IRM have not yet commented on the potential closing.

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