Nearly 80 years after the school opened, Junipero Serra School at Carmel Mission Basilica will close its doors after the current 2019-2020 academic year.

In a press release sent out Friday evening, the Catholic Diocese of Monterey said the school has struggled with a multi-year decline in enrollment resulting in a precarious and fragile financial situation.

“Generous parish support, along with diocesan support, has been invested in the school for many years,” said Father Paul Murphy, pastor of the parish and Carmel Mission Basilica, in a prepared statement. “A multi-year plan to financial viability had been set in motion under the leadership of our Parish Finance Council along with recommendations received from a professional Catholic school consulting company. The economic and financial toll of the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on school, parish, and diocesan finances.”

Dozen of parents and students showed up at the school on Saturday to protest its closure. Others went to the school’s Facebook page to express their disappointment.

“As a parent of current students, I can attest that no red flag was given to parents or teachers,” wrote Kris Spencer. “My two cents is that this action was probably in the works and coronavirus was used as a convenient excuse.”

Full story at Monterey Herald.

Bishop Daniel E. Garcia’s statement here.