Bishop: School-closing plan will proceed - Catholic Courier

Bishop: School-closing plan will proceed

After studying alternative proposals presented by parent groups, Bishop Matthew H. Clark announced Feb. 12 that he will proceed with a plan to close 13 Monroe County Catholic schools.

In a statement released by the diocese, the bishop said reopening one or more schools slated for closing would jeopardize retention and enrollment goals for the 11 remaining schools, thereby destabilizing the finances of the system as a whole.

“While I greatly appreciate these proposals, I remain confident that the (Catholic Schools) Task Force recommendations to close these schools and focus our resources on 11 remaining schools is the best chance we have of stabilizing our financial pressures in the long term and preserving Catholic education for the future,” the bishop said.

Diocesan officials reiterated that they will do all they can to seat every child who would like to receive a Catholic education. Registration for the 2008-09 school year begins tomorrow, and registration packets were to be sent home to all parents today. Officials said that space issues, if any, would be addressed as they arise once registration is under way.

During the past 10 days, diocesan and Monroe County Catholic schools officials met with parent groups at Holy Trinity School in Webster, St. John of Rochester School in Fairport, Good Shepherd School in Henrietta, St. Margaret Mary School in Irondequoit, St. John the Evangelist School in Spencerport and Holy Cross School in Charlotte. Officials also met with parents from several Catholic city schools in a session at Rochester’s St. Andrew School.

“I offer my profound gratitude to the parents at these schools who worked incredibly hard on these proposals to keep their schools open,” Bishop Clark said. “I pray that we can tap their energy, commitment and passion as we move forward.”

The bishop had announced Jan. 18 that the aforementioned schools would close, as well as St. Boniface, Corpus Christi at Blessed Sacrament, St. Monica and Holy Family in Rochester; Catherine McAuley, Greece; and All Saints Academy, a middle school in Gates.

Diocesan officials said the closings were necessitated by a $1 million budget deficit that was projected to increase to more than $5 million by next year; continued drops in enrollment sparked by rising tuition costs; and escalating per-student education costs.

The closings will enable the diocese to reduce Monroe County tuition by 27 percent, to $2,950 for one child of a parish-sponsored family or $3,975 for one child of a nonparishioner family.

For details on registration, visit www.dorschools.org or call 585-235-3276.

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