BOLINGBROOK, Ill. — A bedrock of the Bolingbrook community since 1966 will soon close its doors for good, catching parents and students by surprise.  

Parents and parish members of a vibrant institution of faith and education say St. Dominic Catholic School is more than its name. But the Diocese of Joliet says they had been having internal discussions about the financial viability of this school for the last two years. 

Parent Melissa Zaboth said news of its closure without “zero notice and zero warning” was devastating.  

“Honestly, I felt like the floor had been ripped out from underneath me,” Zaboth said.  

Parents say there was no phone call. There was no town hall meeting. Instead, parents said they got the news in a letter Friday after school. 

“It’s really in a lot of ways our spiritual home and it feels very much like it was just pulled out from underneath us,” parent Joe Ayala said.  

Citing low enrollment, St. Dominic Catholic School administrators wrote the decision to close after the 2021-22 school year, adding that doing so came with a heavy heart. 

“There’s got to be another reason. They’re not telling us the truth.” 

More than 160 students currently attend St. Dominic. Next year only 140 are signed up. The school says it needed at least 169 students to enroll. Officials add that school enrollment has been down 30% since 2016. 

“Yes, our enrollment declined, but we were financially stable,” parent Iris Alvardo said.  

In a letter to parents, school leaders wrote, “we will carry you in our hearts.” 

“I don’t feel like I’m being held in anybody’s hearts right now,” Zaboth said. “That’s for sure.”

Parents told WGN News they need answers and transparency, not platitudes. 

“I feel instead like they’ve just thrown us to the wolves,” Zaboth said. “They’ve decided that we would just keep our mouths shut and move on to a different Catholic school.”

The school wasn’t on the Diocese of Joliet’s list of schools at risk of closing. 

“We were given no opportunity to fix it,” Zaboth said.    

Since getting the news, the school community has banded together to fight the closure. Parents plan to hold protests, make phone calls and write letters. Some add that they plan to cease school donations until the school returns their queries.

“We’re not going to go down without a fight,” Ayala said.  

The diocese is offering a $500 grant to families committed to staying within the Catholic school system. The closest ones are in Woodridge and Romeoville.