Drought final straw in school closure

The shrinking of rural communities compounded by the drought, has forced the closure of St Joseph's Boarding College for girls at Perthville, west of the Blue Mountains in NSW.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the decision will affect 60 girls, mostly from remote farming families. They will either need to be boarded in private homes, relocate to co-educational Catholic boarding schools, or move to schools run by other denominations.

The Josephite congregation said it could no longer afford to keep the residential facility open beyond the 2008 school year.

The closure will come 132 years after its establishment.

Congregation leader Sr Mary Cromer said: "All the girls were upset when we told them and one of the year 8 girls said if Russell Crowe could save the Rabbitohs, maybe he can save the school."

She said: "The bottom line is that the college is an incorporated body and company, and unless it is somewhat viable, we can't keep it going."

St Joseph's is the boarding facility for girls attending MacKillop College and does not attract federal assistance because it and school are not owned by the same business entity. The order has offered operational ownership to the local bishop in an attempt to save the college.

Sister Cromer said a review in 1999 concluded 75 students were needed to make it viable. The recent figure has been 60 to 64 and falling.

The big dry saps life from boarding schools, too (Sydney Morning Herald, 15/9/07)

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