||Brother Dutton Grade School in Beloit will close in June, 2011, at the end of this school year. (Catholic Herald Photo/Bill Boyce)
BELOIT -- The 85-year-old Brother Dutton Grade School will close in June, 2011, at the end of this school year.
A letter was sent to school parents on January 7, informing them that Bishop Robert C. Morlino accepted and approved a proposal that Brother Dutton close and also that students be encouraged to attend Our Lady of the Assumption Grade School in Beloit.
The St. Jude Parish Pastoral Council and Finance Committee sent the proposal to St. Jude Pastor Fr. John Hendricks who forwarded it to the bishop.
The decision resulted after several meetings and studies by an ad hoc committee from parishes in the Beloit cluster. Enrollment at Brother Dutton has been declining for several years. Presently there are 52 students.
Michael Lancaster, superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Madison, said in a statement, “While we are saddened that Brother Dutton has announced that it will cease the daily education of students at the end of this school year, plans are underway to ensure that students from Brother Dutton will still have the opportunity for a Catholic school education next year.
“The administration of Our Lady of the Assumption (OLA) has been working closely with the pastor and principal of Brother Dutton in order to accommodate all Brother Dutton students and families so that all may have a Catholic school education.
“Our Lady of the Assumption School is hosting an open house this week specifically for students and families from Brother Dutton School, which will provide information and ample opportunity for questions and answers.
“The Office of Catholic Schools will continue to work with both schools and the cluster parishes to ensure as smooth a transition process as possible for the students and their families. We continue to pray for grace for the entire Beloit community during this difficult time,” said Lancaster.
Brother Dutton Principal Ed O’Brien said, “It’s been my privilege to work here the past four years. I am very impressed with our parents’ dedication as well as that of our students, staff, and the St. Jude Parish.” He noted that the school has been a Beloit community pillar, offering a tradition of excellent education, religious values, and community service.
O’Brien said a celebration and remembering day is planned for Saturday, June 4, to highlight the school’s long tradition of education and service to the Beloit community. Beloit’s first Catholic grade school, Brother Dutton was blessed upon completion on November 28, 1926.
O’Brien praised the school’s teachers and staff by stating, “They are excellent people who have remained so loyal. I appreciate their dedicated service.”
He said all the school year activities and events will continue as planned.
As St. Jude Parish officials determine future use for the school building, plans call for it to be used for religious education programs and the gym used for various athletic programs.