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Mooney may be on the move to southern Mahoning County

Published: Wed, September 4, 2013 @ 12:05 a.m.



Staff report


The move of Cardinal Mooney High School to southern Mahoning County is still a possibility.

In a news release late Tuesday, Bishop George V. Murry of the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown said he would agree to move Mooney to a “suitable location in the southern tier of Mahoning County if the results of the financial feasibility study indicate there is sufficient financial support for a new school building and for an endowment fund for scholarships for financially needy students.”

The five-member committee, which the bishop established to review all the information concerning Cardinal Mooney, made the recommendation late last week, said Dr. Nicholas Wolsonovich, diocesan superintendent of Catholic schools.

Wolsonovich said new information on the estimated cost of removing and abating asbestos in the school building on Erie Street on the city’s South Side was among factors in the bishop’s decision.

That figure could be in the millions, he said. The estimated cost of renovation, about $15 million, would increase because of the asbestos situation.

But Wolsonovich emphasized that other factors, in addition to the asbestos issue, played a part in the recommendation. He said the goal is to make available a Catholic education to the greatest number of Catholic families and non-Catholics.

Wolsonovich said the feasibility study would gauge financial support for the estimated $25 million it would take for a new school building and property acquisition.

He continued that Cardinal Mooney’s endowment fund, which provides money for scholarships, is about $1.5 million. The bishop would like to see $5 million in the endowment fund to provide scholarships for economically disadvantaged students.

The money in the endowment fund would be considered as part of the financial feasibility study.

As part of this decision, the bishop consulted with the executive committee of Ursuline High School and Cardinal Mooney board of directors about the possibility of a merger of the two schools.

Both groups did not think a merger was a viable option. The bishop’s five-member review committee also did not support a merger of the two schools.

Wolsonovich said the Rev. Gerald DeLucia, president of Cardinal Mooney, and its board of directors will develop an overall plan for the new building, including a funding plan and an endowment fund.

Last year, Mooney officials began exploring whether to renovate the school building or construct a new one in southern Mahoning County.

Initial reports pegged the new construction at $25 million with the renovation at $18 million, but now the asbestos removal or abatement is increasing that figure. Mooney’s board of directors recommended moving.


1willinnyny(121 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

Why does part of me feel like Cardinal Mooney HS is running away from the minority populations that now surround the present school building?

I say, "Bloom Where You Are Planted."

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2misterlee(118 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

Good job Mooney! You killed the neighborhood your school is in by placing your stadium in the middle of Rush Blvd turning it into a dead end and a haven for crack dealers. Now that the neighborhood by you is completely decimated you want to just pack up and run away. Stay where you are and be part of the solution to the problem you created, don't hide from it.

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3Millerh113(217 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

There's a brand new high school in youngstown with an enrollment of less than a hundred students. I refer to chaney high school Why not approach the city Board of Ed about buying this under used bldg. Current chaney students could be enrolled in brand new volney rogers and brand new wilson.

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4republicanRick(1731 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

Money talks so Mooney is moving out to the suburbs.
This isn't about Christianity or helping the poor or raising up the downtrodden. This is about people with money wanting control.

Youngstown is not blameless in this. Drive up around the Uptown section and around South Ave. and Indianola. You will see overwhelming blight and neglect and ruined neighborhoods. And we have Mayor Sammorone "wishing" to have 1000 homes demolished and not even 1/2 that amount actually seeing the wrecking ball. Youngstown has absolutely no plan for dealing with the blight other than "wishing" and begging for money. Meanwhile, council members cannot even agree on a simple redistricting of their wards. Shameful.

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5mrblue(1175 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

Could it be that the Bishop changed his mind because of the drop off in the weekly collection basket? Money talks.

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6Tigerlily(509 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

He would like to see 5 million in the endowment fund. Sounds like he's telling the Richie Richs who want him to move the school to put their money where their mouths are. Pay up, and then we'll move.

That's a decent maneuver on his part, if in fact it's a maneuver.

If he's just bluffing and they move anyway, it was all for show for the public to make it look like he cared.

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7ComeOnMan(17 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

They don't have the money to fix the school or relocate it and have their hands out asking for money.

If the people have to fund everything then what do they need the DOY for? What is their annual budget? Based on how they handled this so badly it should all be questioned.

The kids in the city can go to Ursuline. 5 million are you kidding me. With Ytown schools they go for free under the voucher anyway.

I think people want to help but the comments coming out of there are red flags. How could you expect them to handle 25 mil project with the way they have handled everything to date.

Take over one of the new City Schools not being used or go to Ursuline.

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8filter(2 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

Just watch how its handled. It will be spectacular!

No need to take over one of the city schools we WILL build our own!

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9republicanRick(1731 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

If they move, what happens to the asbetos laden old school building? Does the diocese just stick the city with it?

If they do, it will sit vacant for 40 years. Look at the Aeroquip complex. It sits abandoned and falling apart 30 YEARS after the city took control.

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10debbie2751(3 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

Your are missing the boat people! Come on Who is in charge here? The Bishop stated that committees from Mooney and Ursuline did not want to combine. They should have combined 10 years ago. When the Bishop combined most of the the area Catholic Churches a few years ago no one had a say so. Combine the schools and be done with it. How long do you think these schools can survive with the declining enrollment and the high tuition costs?

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11dmacker(535 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

It would seem that the neighborhood around Cardinal Mooney was deteriorating years before Rush Blvd was closed. The fact is that the student population has moved to the south and most of the students have to drive or are driven into the city. This would be an opportunity to center the school into the community it serves.

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12jmagaratz(189 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

1) practice of birth control severely limits ability to maintain "full enrollment" of student numbers in future years
2) preponderance of "lay faculty" insures that the cost of "Catholic Education" can only increase
3) expectation that Catholics from many parishes will support indirect taxation for the support of a new high school is example of "la la land" thinking that is unrealistic.....
4) best bet is to let the money folks at Ursuline slug it out with the Mooney money folks....doubt that there is willingness on either side to spend themselves into oblivion....may lead to conclusion that merger is strong viable option....

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13southsidedave(5199 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

$25 million is a hefty sum that will no doubt require a "hands out" approach for many years to come...

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14dd933(312 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

If Mooney stays they can be part of the solution for the concentrated poverty of the neighborhood, if they move they contribute to the problem.

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15Rooster(80 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

If Mooney is counting on suburb parents helping their bottom line with this move, they better figure out their academic problems. Being part of the Mooney family ain't going to count for the non-Catholics, and the suburb kids aren't all about sports like the inner city kids who want to go there. Too bad no one is looking out to improve Catholic education in the area and involving Ursuline, who runs the best academic program, with better teachers and administrators. This will make Ursuline decline and they were doing the best job. Just another one of those old stories about the better outfit losing out to the pushiest mouths and the Bishop not a strong enough leader to move out in front of these types. Even though he knows what he should be doing, he can't get it done. Scooted off to a meeting and can't comment is just par for the course.

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16tdclac69(14 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

Well said ( former demliberal)- agree 100% especially your last paragraph!!

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17ringo(12 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

Money is the whole issue here.

It's about getting donations to build it so they don't have to spend their own money. They would rather keep their own money for retired priests and nuns to live in luxury at the expense of their teachers and other employees.

Do you know priests and nuns never pay a dime for health care, and that is forever. When diocesan teachers rand other employees retire they lose their health care completely and don't even have an option to buy.

Mooney will get a new high school when the wealthy from Boardman and Poland and Canfiield ante up, and not until.

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18ringo(12 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

I find it funny that that there are 3 Catholic High Schools in the Youngstown-Warren area and all three of them are one-third full.

The answer seems pretty obvious to me as what the Diocese of Youngstown should do.........but the will NEVER, EVER close the shrine that is Ursuline.

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19Education_Voter(1173 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

Ringo, you are sooo off-base.

"The Diocese" is not priests and a handful of remaining nuns. It is the parishioners. Few, if not none, of us would have any problem contributing to healthcare costs for priests and nuns. The fact is that the Ursuline nuns have done a good job of taking care of their own community.

Meanwhile, what you call "the shrine that is Ursuline" is also the better school in the better building in the better location. Wake up. People who are devout Catholics would no doubt enroll their children in Ursuline just as they did before Mooney was opened during the baby boom.

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20Irrigateirritate(2 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

If you look on Google Maps, you can see the stakes already in place at the Bruno Compound off Tippy Road...I mean it's already gated, high security already, much safer for the rich kids...

Anyone else notice how Jane Marie left, John Young stepped in and now Mooney needs a new high school? Must be some good Koolaid they are drinking....I think I'll start taking my offerings elsewhere...grow a set of nuts Murray.

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21DeAngelis(5 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

I am a Ursuline Grad class of "52 from Boardman and a charter member of Mooney's Booster Club and a personal friend of Bishop Hughes the first head of Cardinal Mooney with whom I stayed in contact with until his death at the age of 93. I am not a resident of Youngstown or Boardman now and am not here to tell the residents of Youngstown or Boardman what they should do as to the location of a new or renovated school but I think that whether you stay in Youngstown or move to Boardman you have to include as part of the cost the removal of asbestos from Cardinal Mooney and the tearing down of their building. I believe that is you moral obligation to Youngstown. It just cannot be another abandoned building in Youngstown.

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22polhack(129 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

I graduated from Mooney in the sixties. It was a financial burden for my parents, a privilege for me and a good education as I could pay attention to the teachers and not some insolent fool running his/her mouth as a way to build their "gangsta cred". Punks weren't tolerated by the school or by parents who were shelling out college prices for kids to attend it. Everything has changed now, including the price, which is in the thousands each year per student. Combine schools, remodel,
move; none of it matters if parents have no financial skin in the game and schools have no ability or the will to provide appropriate discipline, including expelling chronic problem punks.

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23interestedparty(2 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

@tired-vouchers had no hand in the closing of the Catholic feeder schools. Economics and population shifts did. If anything vouchers as you refer to them have helped bolster enrollment at feeder schools and high schools.

@polhac-This isn't the sixties and parents definitely have "skin in the game". The school you graduated from in the sixties and I graduated from in the eighties no longer exists. The school is much better now then when we went there. It was a great school then and it is a better one today.The schools has and does exercise appropriate discipline.
UHS and CMHS do a nice job of graduating well rounded students. Are either of them perfect? No, but neither are any of the othe schools in this or any other area.

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24struthersfan(9 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

Anyone with any sort of reasoning knows that ideally the bishop should combine both of the schools like was done with the many parish consolidations/closings.
Several elementary schools were also closed due to declining enrollments.

For me, it's just a matter of time. Especially if the enrollments show any kind of decline.

Realistically, Ursuline could handle both enrollments at it's campus. Use Mooney's building until Ursuline is remodeled. Or as has been suggested, there are plenty of unused buildings throughout the city that could house a combined school. Really, would it really kill people to get used to a "Youngstown Central Catholic" high school? They may fight it for years to come, but I think eventually a merger will happen. It's a matter of time.

I understand mergers and closings are sore subjects. No one wants to lose their identity.
However sometimes you have to sacrifice in order to remain solvent.
If Mooney does get a new building in the suburbs as anticipated, the real loser in the equation will be Ursuline. Due to it's age and a possible drop in enrollment, the bishop would have no financial reason to keep it open. Alumni or not, UHS would be a goner.

Rather than relocate far from the city, the bishop needs to look at other options available right in Youngstown.
Including consolidation.

Just my opinion.

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25interestedparty(2 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

@struthersfan-Ursuline cannot handle both enrollments at its campus. The school although larger at one time is not suited for both schools.

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26Ypublius(21 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

In 1969, Ursuline had a graduating class of 400 seniors....so yes, UHS could easily accomodate all the Catholic high school students in Mahoning County.

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27city_resident(528 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

Students per classroom, and students per teacher ratios have changed dramatically since 1969. So, even if UHS could accommodate 400 students then, it can't today, and still provide a learning environment that is competitive with other schools.

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