Haverhill's Merrimack Montessori School to close

BOSTON -- The board of trustees of Merrimack Montessori School in Haverill have announced that the school will not reopen this fall. The school is a ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston.

Parents were notified of the decision in a May 26 letter from Catherine Tenneson, chair of the board of trustees of CSJ Ministries Connection, Inc., which oversees the mission of the school. Tenneson cited declining enrollment, a widening gap between the actual per-pupil cost and tuition prices and a harsh economic climate for the decision.

"The current economic crisis and the changing demographics for potential students have prevented Merrimack Montessori School from achieving a sustainable enrollment and strengthening the financial position of the school," wrote Tenneson. "Both of these factors influence the quality of education for which Merrimack Montessori School is noted."

The board of trustees and head of school Mary Gale will be working together to reconcile all financial accounts for 2011-2012, arrange for the transfer of student records, assist faculty and staff in the transition process and attend to all details related to closing Merrimack Montessori School.

Merrimack Montessori is a Catholic co-educational school enrolling 71 students in pre-primary through third grade.

The school was opened in 1965 in Haverhill by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston, offering pre-school and kindergarten. It was one of the earliest Montessori Schools opened in the United States. This year, the school celebrated its 45th anniversary.

"The Merrimack Montessori School is abundantly grateful for the many families who have entrusted their children to the care of the committed faculty, staff and administration of the school over these 45 years," said Tenneson. "We are also very grateful to our alumni, friends, and volunteers who, over the decades, have so generously contributed their time, talent and treasure to Merrimack Montessori School."