After more than 60 years in operation, St. Pius X School in White Bear Lake is closing, and it will be merged next fall with its neighbor to the north, St. Mary of the Lake School. The decision comes after more than a year of discussions and planning as enrollment at the two Catholic schools, as with some public schools, has been declining, said the Rev. Ralph Talbot, who will serve as the new regional school's moderator and canonical administrator.

The decision to close St. Pius X was difficult, Talbot said, but the new regional school offers a better opportunity to offer new curriculum and grow enrollment. The St. Mary building is larger and more updated, as well.

St. Mary principal Patrick Gallivan will have that job at the new regional school and his St. Pius X counterpart, Danny Kieffer, will be assistant principal. The schools serve preschool through eighth grade.

The merger also means some staff reductions. Teachers and staff at both schools can reapply for positions.

Jim Anderson