St. Bernadette School to Close Next Year
By Penny Wiegert, Editor
June 7, 2018
Some parents choose to move their children ahead of 2019-20 new school opening, leaving too few students to keep west side school open. Registered families are invited to make an early move to St. James campus.
ROCKFORD—St. Bernadette Parish announced this week that students and families at St. Bernadette School will make the transition to the new consolidated Catholic school one year early.
St. Bernadette School is part of the Rockford Joint Schools Committee plan to bring together four Catholic Schools in the city of Rockford — the Cathedral of St. Peter School, St. Bernadette, St. Edward, and St. James schools — with the financial and spiritual support of the parishes of St. Anthony, St. Patrick, SS. Peter and Paul and St. Stanislaus to form a new Catholic school in the city of Rockford to serve families from all eight parishes.
The plan has been to combine the time, talent and treasure of these eight parishes and four schools into a new school with a new name on the campus of the current St. James School. The new school is scheduled to open for the 2019-2020 school year.
As part of that plan, St. Bernadette, St. Edward, St. James and St. Peter schools were planning to operate individually for one more year before coming together. 
The one-year timeline allows for the Joint Schools Committee to finish planning and  to develop recommendations for facility improvements, curriculum, student life, activities and enrichment opportunities. 
This year also would allow each school to celebrate its history and traditions while preparing students for new traditions at the new school.
But a recent announcement by St. Bernadette pastor, Father Kenneth Stachyra, said only 30 students were registered for the 2018-2019 school year.
“It was our hope that all our school families would use the 2018-19 school year to honor their schools while being a part of our exciting transition. However, many St. Bernadette families have chosen other options for their children in this final year. 
“Given registration numbers, St. Bernadette School cannot maintain the necessary resources to provide the optimum educational program and student experience for an additional year,” Father Stachyra said.
He went on to say that “after much prayer and consultation with St. Bernadette’s principal, Renee Payne, our school and parish are forced to make the difficult decision to close St. Bernadette School and invite the registered families to transition to the new St. James campus a year earlier than anticipated.”
Teachers were notified prior to the announcement and are being assisted in securing employment if they choose to pursue opportunities in the Rockford Diocese. 
Letters were sent home to all parents and Father Stachyra addressed parishioners at all Masses June 2-3.