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Reconsidering Mooney move coincides with plea for funds



Published: Sun, July 14, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)


The official explanation for Bishop George V. Murry’s decision to revisit his June 4 edict to keep Cardinal Mooney High School in Youngstown is that it may be cost prohibitive to remediate asbestos in the Erie Street building.

However, the timing of Murry’s reconsideration does give pause.

As most Catholics in the region know, the diocese is in the midst of one of its most important money-raising events, the Bishop’s Appeal.

Churchgoers are no doubt familiar with this message from Murry:

“Last year Catholic Charities served over 45,000 needy individuals and families in our diocese. Your support of the Bishop’s Appeal makes the work of Catholic Charities possible. Your support of the Appeal also helps fund diocesan ministries that promotes family life, the formation of youth and young adults, the sanctity of human life, religious education and others. For this reason, I ask in Jesus’ Name that you please respond generously to the 2013 Bishop’s Appeal.”

The goal for this year: $3,800,000.

NO TIME FOR CONTROVERSY

A website that offers details about the drive provides insight into why Bishop Murry and the hierarchy of the diocese would want to avoid any controversy now. And make no mistake about it, the proposed relocation of Cardinal Mooney High School from Youngstown to Boardman is seeped in controversy.

The “Bishop’s Circle of Hope” is designed to persuade Catholics to dig deep when they are pledging their monetary support.

“As a member (of the Circle), you pledge to become partners in a shared vision for the future of the Diocese of Youngstown as you set an example of good stewardship and reach out with love to people and ministries in need of your assistance.”

There are six circles, and membership depends on how much is pledged.

Circle of Faith: $10,000 or more.

Circle of Mercy: $5,000 to $9,999.

Circle of Charity: $3,500 to $4,999.

Circle of Generosity: $2,000 to $3,499.

Circle of Compassion: $1,000 to $1,999.

Circle of Gratitude — $500 to $999.

With that in mind, consider some of the individuals who reportedly are leading the charge to build a new Mooney in Boardman. They are prominent alumni, parents of current students or former students, and their names have been mentioned for months: Bruno; Muransky; Reese. Then there’s the opinion of one of the most prominent Mooney alumnae, Denise DeBartolo York, that will carry a great deal of weight with the church. The proponents of relocation not only are committed to the school, but many are also major supporters of the Youngstown diocese.

Indeed, some of the movers and shakers at Mooney could well be “Circle of Faith” members.

The new school carries a price tag of $25 million, and there are reports that Bishop Murry has made it clear there must be a major commitment of private dollars before he would consider the proposal to move the school to the suburbs.

On the other hand, the asbestos remediation at the current school could cost $18 million.

All things considered — many parents of Mooney students have voiced concern about safety, given the school’s South Side location — it would be easier to raise money for the move than for dealing with the asbestos.

The school has been on Erie Street since 1956, but the then-vibrant city has undergone a major transformation since.

Today, the population is declining, neighborhoods are deteriorating and violent crimes continue to make headlines.

Parents who pay a lot of money to send their children to Mooney want a safe environment for them. But as Bishop Murry noted in June when he announced that the school would stay put, the diocese has an obligation to the city and its young people.

But all the bishop’s good intentions may have to give way to the financial realities surrounding Mooney’s future — and that of the Diocese of Youngstown.

The $3.8 million goal for the Bishop’s Appeal would be a challenge at any time, but in the midst of a slow national economic recovery, it looms large.

If Bishop Murry changes his mind and gives the green light to Mooney’s move, he will be able to persuasively argue that the asbestos remediation was too expensive an undertaking.

Catholics who are unwilling to assign ulterior motives to the head of the church in the area will be swayed. Others will contend that alienating well-heeled Catholics isn’t good for business.


Comments

1Fontana(18 comments)posted 1 year, 1 month ago

The $18 million in asbestos removal is inflated and is clearly a scare tactic. This material exists in just about every building constructed pre-1980 and it's not dangerous unless it is disturbed. The proponents of the Mooney relocation fail to recognize the reality facing the area's Catholic schools:
1. The K-8 'feeder schools' are broke & enrollment is declining. They need to be fixed first or there's really no reason to 'fix' Catholic high schools.
2. JFK, UHS, & Mooney all have had declining enrollments over the past decade. A consolidation during the next decade is the only logical & practical strategy.
3. A new 'central' high school has to be situated near a highway that provides good accessibility to both Mahoning & Trumbull Counties. A site on Western Reserve is not centrally located!

Failing to recognize & address these issues would be a colossal mistake for the Diocese and such would jeopardize the future of parochial education in the Valley.

Suggest removal:

2chuck_carney(499 comments)posted 1 year, 1 month ago

Bert, you forgot the Circle of Hope. This is where the City of Youngstown "hopes" that Mooney will stay put so that it will not lose the City income tax paid by the non-city resident teachers, administrators, etc.

If Mooney leaves, the City officials will be running around in "circles" plotting how to have a JEDD for the new school.

no doubt that the city is unable to contribute substantially to the asbestos rmediation

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3questionreality(231 comments)posted 1 year, 1 month ago

When will the Vindicator commit a random act of journalism -- a good off-agenda story that is the meat of reporting and reading. You know, a hidden story, a real story that gives journalism meaning. What we are getting is this: opinion, stenography and media obsession with topics that do not seem to be met with the same obsession by members of the ordinary public.

Suggest removal:

4av667(18 comments)posted 1 year, 1 month ago

Items to consider:

1. Any company or architect who gives budgetary numbers provides estimates for both public and private entities and forgets to consider asbestos in buildings is either incompetent or using it as a tactic (in this case) to help counter the criticism to moving the school.
2. The Bishop in his initial assessment,decided to keep the school in Youngstown. Changing his decision based on the asbestos issue would be tantamount to admitting that the people doing the study are not competent enough to perform their duties in a businesslike manner and should not be associated with the diocese.
3. Ursuline and Mooney in their best years serviced 2000 students at each school. Today the combined is between 1100 and 1200.
4. Combine schools and repair one while maintaining enrollment and then close the one not being repaired. Ursuline has land that is available and or can be purchased at price which would be a lot less than land on Western Reserve.
5. Combining the two schools (alas, the Alumni reliving their past might not want or allow ((again money)) ) would provide cost efficiencies and bring more of the Catholic population into the fold of contributions not just three or four majors. Alumni would get over it, especially if academics and sports would be enhanced because of the economic savings.
6. The age of the major contributors should be considered. Remember, people don't live forever, move or have misfortunes in business. It is better to satisfy the many rather than the few. If money or lack thereof is used as a tool in enticing the Bishop, then the Bishop should consider the ramifications of future contributions by the balance of the Catholic population, many who are expressing displeasure of the way things are being played out.
7.My last point is actually a question. If Mooney is moved and built, what will become of Ursuline? The Catholic diocese and the Catholic population should not have to support two half full schools (ie: Youngstown school recent dilemma.

Just some thoughts

Suggest removal:

5av667(18 comments)posted 1 year, 1 month ago

Items to consider:

1. Any company or architect who gives budgetary numbers and providing estimates for both public and private entities and does and forgets to consider asbestos in buildings is either incompetent or using it as a tactic (in this case) to help counter the criticism to moving the school.
2. The Bishop in his initial assessment decided to keeping the school in Youngstown. Changing his decision based on the asbestos issue would be tantamount to admitting that the people doing the study are not competent enough to perform their duties in a business like manner and should not be associated with the diocese.
3. Ursuline and Mooney in their best years serviced 2000 students. today the combined is between 1100 and 1200.
4. Combine schools and repair one while maintaining enrollment . Ursuline has land that is available and or can be purchased at price which would be a lot less than land on Western Reserve.
5. Combining the two schools (alas, the Alumni reliving their past) would provide cost efficiencies and bring more of the Catholic population into the fold of contributions not just three or four. Alumni would get over it, especially if academics and sports would be enhanced because of the economic.
6. The age of the major contributors should be considered. Remember, people don't last forever and move or have misfortunes in business. It is better to satisfy the many rather than the few. If money or lack thereof is used as a tool in enticing the bishop, then the Bishop should consider the ramifications of future contributions by the balance of the Catholic population, many who are expressing displeasure of the way things are being played out.

Just some thoughts

Suggest removal:

6av667(18 comments)posted 1 year, 1 month ago

Items to consider:

1. Any company or architect who gives budgetary numbers and providing estimates for both public and private entities and does and forgets to consider asbestos in buildings is either incompetent or using it as a tactic (in this case) to help counter the criticism to moving the school.
2. The Bishop in his initial assessment decided to keeping the school in Youngstown. Changing his decision based on the asbestos issue would be tantamount to admitting that the people doing the study are not competent enough to perform their duties in a business like manner and should not be associated with the diocese.
3. Ursuline and Mooney in their best years serviced 2000 students. today the combined is between 1100 and 1200.
4. Combine schools and repair one while maintaining enrollment . Ursuline has land that is available and or can be purchased at price which would be a lot less than land on Western Reserve.
5. Combining the two schools (alas, the Alumni reliving their past) would provide cost efficiencies and bring more of the Catholic population into the fold of contributions not just three or four. Alumni would get over it, especially if academics and sports would be enhanced because of the economic.
6. The age of the major contributors should be considered. Remember, people don't last forever and move or have misfortunes in business. It is better to satisfy the many rather than the few. If money or lack thereof is used as a tool in enticing the bishop, then the Bishop should consider the ramifications of future contributions by the balance of the Catholic population, many who are expressing displeasure of the way things are being played out.

Just some thoughts

Suggest removal:

7Millerh113(122 comments)posted 1 year, 1 month ago

The kids who live in the city have an excellent public school system with new or renovated buildings, good teachers (who pay city wage taxes), new and visionary curricular offerings, presided over by an excellent superintendent. They don't need Mooney to provide them with a quality education if they want one. Why does Murry believe he has an obligation to educate the city's young people?

Suggest removal:

8green(34 comments)posted 1 year, 1 month ago

Miller, good question. Even if Mooney moves, there is still Ursuline. To Betram, sober up & get your facts straight, there is no number on asbestos removal, yet. The $18M was for renovation and an addition for the Arts. Yes I said sober up, if you can claim the Bishop is taking bribes, I can call you a drunk. And where did you get your facts on the names you published? Did you or some Vindy staff interview them or is this all hear say as is all your articles. The Youngstown Vindicator should be called the Youngstown Enquirer. Fontana has got it!! Without fixing the feeder schools, what is the sense of helping the high schools. The Bishop needs better advisement, people who do not put their emotions on the line, as does some of the alumni. Hell, Mooney can't even get rid of an 80 year old Athletic Director who doesn't know how to work a computer and doesn't work the summer because some of the board directors consider him a god and these are the people giving advise to the Bishop. Scary stuff.

Suggest removal:

9walter_sobchak(1893 comments)posted 1 year, 1 month ago

I believe the $18M was the original figure for the renovation of the school but, once the contractors looked at the job, the number jumped up but not doubled. In any event, if the purpose of a catholic high school is to provide an avenue for catholic students to receive an education based in catholic teaching and philosophy, then the school should be in an area where the catholic children reside. Moving it south to Western Reserve Rd. provides this to the catholics that currently reside in Poland, Boardman, and Canfield while also tapping into the Columbiana area. Now, charging $8000 per year, IMHO, qualifies this school as a preparatory school and academics must be stressed. If students from Youngstown feel they need to leave the Youngstown City School system and attend a prep school, then they will be required to travel to it. But, I would not send my child to the South Side rat's nest, risking their life, and paying a huge sum of money for the "privilege".

Suggest removal:

10mrblue(975 comments)posted 1 year, 1 month ago

It has been said many times in the past. It's all about the MONEY. The bishop is changing his mind because the Sunday collections are down. It's all about the MONEY.

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11jmagaratz(165 comments)posted 1 year, 1 month ago

Proposal for DOY.....

1) consolidate Ursuline and Mooney--rename it "St. Columba Cathedral High School"

2) renovate current Ursuline site

3) have "new" school house grades 7-12

These are measures that incorporate principles of coordination, cooperation, and consolidation leading to greater efficiencies in the use of available resources

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