ASTORIA - St. Mary Star of the Sea School will close at the end of this school year. A number of Peninsula students attend the school or are alums.

The Astoria school has been consistently running a deficit between $100,000 and $250,000 each year for a number of years, and tuition, fees and regular fundraisers have barely covered half of the school's total operating expenses, according to a letter sent to students' parents, dated Jan. 20.

The closure is "due to the profoundly challenging nature of funding Catholic schools in the 21st century," states the letter, signed by Father Ken Sampson and Principal Tom Rogozinski.

It is "not due to any impropriety or mismanagement by the current, nor any previous, leadership team."

"Unfortunately, we're reflecting our entire region," Rogozinski said, noting that a number of North Coast businesses have closed recently. "This is not unique, but it doesn't make it any easier."

The school, now in its 115th year, has been dealing with budget deficits for a long time, Sampson said.

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