Parents question reasons behind Catholic School shut down in Princeton, Illinois

PRINCETON, Illinois-- Parents and staff at St. Louis School in Princeton are still trying to figure out what's keeping their school closed this fall.

In early June, the Catholic Diocese of Peoria threatened to close the school due to low enrollment. Parents say they later started "Save Our School," a committee aimed to help the school increase its numbers.

According to an email sent to the committee by the Catholic Diocese of Peoria, in order to reopen, St. Louis School needed at least 55 students to enroll for classes this fall on top of an enrollment fee of $250.

The committee says they enrolled 56 students within 30 days.

"When we turned in the 56 students along with the $250 per student... they said we didn't have a principal anymore... so I feel like they played dirty," says parent and committee member Laury Mavity.

The former St. Louis School Principal  Rich Koehler, accepted another principal position within the diocese.

Mavity says the group then found two potential candidates.

" ...Peoria Diocese said that they were good candidates for the position (but) they didn't give any other reason other than no," says Mavity.

The enrollment money was given back to parents and students were forced to either enroll in public school or another catholic school, more than 20 miles away.

WQAD reached out to the Catholic Diocese of Peoria as well as Fr. Jeff Stirniman, pastor of the St. Louis Catholic Parish, they did not respond.