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Wadena's St. Ann's School to close

St. Ann's Catholic School in Wadena will be closing following the end of the 2009-10 school year on Thursday.

The decision has been reached to close St. Ann's Catholic School in Wadena after 107 years.

"It's been very difficult for everybody," St. Ann's principal Eileen Weber said. "This is the end of a very long tradition in the community."

A February projection pointed to a decline in this year's K-6 enrollment of 40 students. St. Ann's had more than 400 students at one time but by the 2005-2006 school year the enrollment had fallen to 23. St. Ann's began rebuilding their enrollment at that point with a goal of 60 students but that goal was not reached. The school's enrollment for the last two school years has been 40.

After consulting with school administrators, the parish trustees and Bishop John Kinney of St. Cloud, St. Ann's Father Don Wagner made the decision to close the school at the end of the present 2009-2010 school year.

According to Wagner, St. Ann's does not have the financial resources to offer a just salary to staff and teachers.

Weber, who has been at St. Ann's since 2004, is presently engaged in helping the families of St. Ann's students find new schools for their children to attend beginning with the 2010-2011 school year.

In addition to administration staff, St. Ann's employs three full-time and one part-time elementary teacher.

The final day of school at St. Ann's will be Thursday.