Four Catholic Schools Closing
by: Laurie Johnson, February 6, 2009 8:02:47 pm
There are 62 schools and 18,000 students in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. The four schools affected: Holy Name, St. Charles Borromeo, Our Mother of Mercy and St. Philip Neri will close after this school year.
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo says he made the final decision to close the schools and it wasn't an easy one.
"It's very difficult to deal when your school, where you went to school, where you matriculated, is after many many years being closed for a whole number of reasons, I might add. May I use a personal experience? I hope that will be of help. It's not going to relieve their pain and anguish. My Catholic high school in Pittsburgh, where I went to school, was closed five years after I graduated. And this was a blow to us."
The Cardinal says his decision came after an 18-month comprehensive study and much prayer.
"Our decisions are not infallible. There are many people who would say I disagree, or I think you forgot this data. But I think at a certain point along with the executive committee, I have to make a decision. And you make the decision and you stick with it and you work ahead and move ahead and that's what we're doing here."
The closures will affect about 450 students. All of those students will be offered places in other Catholic schools in the parish at the same tuition rate for the first year.
Sister Kevina Keating is the superintendent of schools for the archdiocese.
"A very important factor for us has been that no single child will be deprived of a Catholic education if they choose to continue in Catholic schools. We have the capacity to serve and to continue to serve all the students we currently have and more."
Church officials said no single factor prompted the school closures, but rather a combination of financial concerns, stagnant or declining enrollment in those schools and the implementation of a long-term plan for Catholic schools in the region.
Approximately 80 staff members will be affected. Many of them will be offered other positions throughout the Archdiocese.
Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.