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Catholics move to southern Mahoning, but Mooney decision still pending

Published: Wed, April 3, 2013 @ 12:08 a.m.

By Denise Dick



There’s been no recommendation about whether Cardinal Mooney High School will move, but a study has determined that the Catholic population has shifted from the city to the suburbs.

Nick Wolsonovich, superintendent of the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown, Office of Catholic Schools, said a study undertaken about a year ago includes several components that will factor into the decision on whether to move the school.

Those factors include enrollment projections, demographics, finances, feasibility and fundraising.

“All of those components must be weighed in making the recommendation,” the superintendent said.

The demographics portion of the study has found that the preponderance of Mahoning County’s Catholic population has shifted from the city to the suburbs over the past several years, Wolsonovich said.

He stressed though that that’s only one consideration in the decision.

The Rev. Gerald DeLucia, Mooney president, said he, the school’s board of directors and officials from the diocese plan to meet next week with city officials as well as representatives of the Alliance for Congregational Transformation Influencing our Neighborhoods, or ACTION.

“We want them to know where we’re coming from and to hear what they have to say,” the Rev. Mr. DeLucia said.

Although as a Catholic school, Mooney must consider where the Catholic population is centered, the city students who attend the school also are part of the equation, he said.

Wolsonovich expects the school’s board of directors to make a recommendation to the bishop this month. Bishop George Murry will make the final decision.

“The bishop is expected to make a decision before the end of the school year,” Mr. DeLucia said.

Last year, the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown hired Catholic School Management Inc. of Madison, Conn., to conduct a feasibility study of moving the school versus renovating and updating the existing structure on the city’s South Side.

A group of alumni had approached the diocese about moving the school to where the county’s population is moving.

An earlier survey by the company determined that most of those interviewed supported a move.

The cost of building a school, estimated at between $24 million and $25 million versus the estimated cost to upgrade the existing school at $18 million also will be a factor in the decision.

Needed repairs include a new roof, windows and a heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system.

Supporters of the move have talked about a location between Poland and Canfield that’s close enough to the Columbiana County line to attract students from that area.

Mooney has been on the city’s South Side since 1956. Mayor Charles Sammarone sent a letter to Bishop Murry last year, urging him to keep the school in the city.

About a third of the school’s 580 students live in the city, with the majority coming from the suburbs including some from Columbiana County, officials have said.


1Photoman(1249 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

This is a move which needs to be made. Enrollment wil increase in a new location and recovery of expenditures will occur at a much more rapid rate in a new location.

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2republicanRick(1741 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

Combine Mooney and Ursuline and build new school by YSU. This would make it centrally located in the county and they could tie in some resources with YSU. Would also help stabilize Youngstown neighborhoods.

Oh that's right, this is Mooney and Ursuline where pride and turf wars will prevent "Catholic pride" from doing the right thing for the community and its kids.

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3dd933(312 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

Taking a stable institution that demonstrates middle class values and leaving a 32 acre vacant property in the middle of what is arguably the poorest neighborhood in Ohio is not what Jesus would do.

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4beach4life(11 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

I find it very hard to believe that simply moving Mooney from its current location is going to spawn a huge increase in enrollment. Parents who truly believe in and want their child to attend Catholic school will send them to Mooney at the current location because they believe in the tradition.

The decrease in enrollment could be due to the fact that tution is through the roof and public schools are providing quality education without the $7/yr price tag.

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5kensgirl(1067 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

First of all I don't think the Ursuline Alumni Assoc. would appreciate closing their school. They don't have a problem so let them be. Second of all I truly believe that the majority of Mooney alumni would agree to move the school. It's in what is considered the most dangerous corridor between Cleveland and Pittsburgh. It's just a matter of time until someone is robbed, shot or killed there. It's not worth it. In answer to what would Jesus do I say Jesus would don his bullet proof vest and ride the fastest camel to southern Mahoning County. What a stupid question. Jesus wants his children to be safe. He would also like to draw more Catholics into the fold of a greater spiritual life, one that could be obtained by bringing more souls into the Catholic family. Move the school already, before someone gets hurt.

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6dd933(312 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

What I have been hearing lately is not a Jesus who "would don his bullet proof vest and ride the fastest camel to southern Mahoning County" but Jesus is the one who actually did the exact oposite and died for us.
Father DeLucia has been quoted saying that the reason for the move is not crime. It's all about the money....I have an idea, move the school to Western Reserve Rd. and change the name to Cardinal Money!

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7busyman(239 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

The cancer of blight, crime, and drugs is standing at the door step. It is time to leave the city and build a new school. Ursuline is somewhat protected by YSU campus, but it will soon be emcompassed by the same. I agree with the move and Ursuline should also consider. The Mahoning Valley needs these to catholic schools for the perfect balance of life, education and religios guidance. Best of Luck.

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8ANTIYOUNGSTOWN(253 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

Wow, $25 million to build a new school. So where does that come from? The collection basket of every church? Moving Mooney to the burbs seems like the right idea but the factors to consider....
If they move I would imagine tuition will have to go up to build and maintain the new campus. People are paying close to $30,000 for four years now. Can they pay more?
Would they want to considering they have options of good school systems in Poland and Canfield for free? Especially when they may be paying high taxes already.
I find it difficult to believe that moving to the burbs is going to increase enrollment. Right now it seems like the only ones who go there now are the elite non Catholics who are talented enough to play football, the westsid-ers who have no choice, or the rich, brainwashed kool-aid drinkers who can afford to send their kids there.

For the move to attract new enrollment Mooney needs to have an education system second to none in the area. But to do that they need to hire top notch educators. But then if you do that tuition has to go up! Vicious circle isn`t it?

Why won`t Mooney and Ursuline finally bite the bullet and just merge? They were built during a time when the population was more compact and when the Catholic base was stronger in the areas where those schools were built. Times have changed! Church attendance is falling. Communities are spread out. Build one Catholic high school, spare no expense, put it in or near downtown and make it type of school that will be a stepping stone to the next level of higher education.

Oh wait, we have those damn Mooney and Ursuline alumni who will pull their support if the schools merge. Guess we wait until either they die off or the schools just close like these grade schools....
St. Anthony
St. Elizabeth
St. Edwards
St. Brenden`s
St. John`s
St. Mathias
St. Rose
St. Dom`s
St. Joe`s (Austintown)
St. Stan`s
Holy Trinity
Immaculate Heart
St. Pats

Am I leaving anyone out?

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9Silence_Dogood(1677 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

"the city students who attend the school also are part of the equation, he said."

After all we do have to concern ourselves with the FOOTBALL and BASKETBALL programs, how are we going to win without them. That is the most important aspect when all is said and done.

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10sknirak(120 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

And then there's the transportation situation. Which bus system will take students to the proposed new school site? All the public school bussing systems probably have funding needs.
How will their school superintendants react to this?

ANTIYOUNGSTOWN brought up a lot of valid points.

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11kensgirl(1067 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

Hey Antiyoungstown - as for your comment about Mooney alumni dying off don't hold your breath. We aren't dying off and we sure aren't damned. We were lucky enough to go to an amazing school. We wern't taught to hate and look down on others as many of you think. We became a family and thank God a lot of us still belong to that family, one that most other schools can't even begin to comprehend. My dad worked his butt off many years ago to send 3 kids there and I can never repay him enough. Although I truly will miss the old building and all the memories, I have to look towards the future and future Cardinals. Let them get their education without fear of walking out of any athletic practice which they chose to participate in without fear of a stray bullet. Anyone who wants to call it "Money High "go ahead. I'd rather call it that than Thug or Gangsta High which would be the alternative. Again I say move the school. What would Jesus say? "Here we go Cardinals, here we go..."!!!

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121970mach1(1005 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

Combine Ursuline and Mooney and move someplace nice.

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13sue(179 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

Mooney is moving to Western Reserve Road near Drake's Landing. It's a done deal.

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14DSquared(1788 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

Good for Mooney! It's their money and sacrifice. Good luck in your new home. If you're not of the Mooney family, then it's none of your business.

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15ANTIYOUNGSTOWN(253 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

Kensgirl, dont get me wrong, I understand the small school aspect and the sense of family. I have no problem with Mooney or Ursuline being a Catholic institution. I just think that both schools have lost sight of that. Recent years both schools are more concerned with athletic accomplishments rather than educating the young on the teachings of our Lord.
I know many families who scrapped up money and sent their children to those schools in the 80`s and 90`s. Most of which now say the schools have changed. That it`s difficult to be an average middle class Catholic and attend Mooney or Ursuline for $7,000 a year. Unless you play football.

Kensgirl, you may not want to see it but the time will come when a decision will have to be made. Either consolidate or close. Or either make it something that is expensive but worth the money by insuring a scholarship to Notre Dame or fall into the history books with the grade schools.

Because alumni support can`t last forever when more and more are leaving the area or dying off.

That is reality. Just ask the supporters of those closed grade schools.

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16ANTIYOUNGSTOWN(253 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

sknirak, there wont be any busing. Just like now it`s everyone for themselves on getting there.

I would imagine if Mooney wanted Canfield, Boardman, Poland, or Youngstown to bus kids, it would just be another added expense. The public schools aren`t going to do it out of the kindness of their heart.

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17nipsy(161 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

Why even act like you might stay in Y-Town? Mooney is going to move...It' a no BRAINER!!!

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18Bigben(1996 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

I am not sure what Mooney's enrollment is down to but if it were feasible Mooney could move to the north side and there would be one Catholic H school just as there was before 1956. That would save a lot of money.

As someone else mentioned YSU is close and so is the freeway. If Mooney relocates and it is a bust that is a lot of money wasted.

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