FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) ─ Two local Catholic schools are slated to close at the end of the school year due to budget shortfalls caused by the pandemic, the Fall River Diocese announced Wednesday.

In a video message sent to students’ families, Bishop Edgar Moreira da Cunha said he made the decision “with a heavy heart” to close both Coyle and Cassidy Middle School and High School in Taunton and St. Margaret Primary School in Buzzards Bay.

Coyle and Cassidy High School will consolidate operations with Bishop Connolly High School in Fall River, while Coyle and Cassidy Middle School students will transfer to Our Lady of Lourdes School in Taunton.

St. Margaret Primary students will have a choice of transferring to one of three nearby Catholic schools: St. Pius X in South Yarmouth, St. Joseph School in Fairhaven or St. Francis Xavier in Acushnet.

“Catholic schools are not only about the buildings but about a community that advances the church’s mission,” da Cunha said. “By consolidating our resources and bringing students together in these schools, we can continue to provide high-quality Christ-centered education for all of our students.”

Superintendent Stephen Perla said while they regret having to close the schools, “the ultimate goal is to strengthen all remaining schools to ensure Catholic education is available for many years to come.”

“We are committed to helping our families transition to another Catholic school that best suits their needs,” Perla said.

Perla said Coyle and Cassidy students transitioning to Bishop Connolly will be provided free transportation to and from school, as well as other students coming from the Taunton area.

He also said that none of the students from St Margaret will see a tuition increase and current applications for financial aid and scholarships will follow them to their new schools.