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Diocese responds to criticism of Catholic school closing



Published: Sun, July 6, 2014 @ 12:00 a.m.

In response to the June 22 let- ter in The Vindicator, we would like to share factual information regarding the closing of St. Joseph and Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Austintown:

During the school year of 2009-2010 there were 256 students enrolled at St. Joseph and Immaculate Heart of Mary School. During the past three years we have watched as enrollment dropped to 93 students registered for the 2014-2015 school year. This is a 64 percent decrease in students.

St. Joseph and Immaculate Heart of Mary closed at the end of the 2013-2014 school year with a projected deficit of $141,552.

We encourage our families to visit and enroll at other Catholic schools. Each of the existing schools offers an excellent academic education with a strong foundation in Catholic identity. Working together ensures the viability and presence of Catholic education within the diocese.

There is no easy way to inform parents, teachers or students that a school is closing, and once it is done and you look back and reflect on the what, how and why of the situation, you realize that perhaps it could have been handled in a different manner. It has been past practice to send home with the children letters and announcements from the principal and teachers. Parents are mindful to check their child’s book bag to look for communication.

Research tells us that parents are the first teacher of their children; they are their child’s first educator, thus, the communication regarding the school was sent home as past practice dictates.

Catholic education in the Diocese of Youngstown is valued and appreciated by many. We will continue to provide the best quality Catholic education at our existing schools. We must continue to move forward and hold ourselves accountable for the excellence and rigor, faith and nurturance that have been the hallmark of Catholic education, and which we must now guarantee for future generations (Ozar, 2012). With grace and wisdom, and asking for the Good Lord’s blessing, we shall continue to work to keep Catholic education alive.

Dr. Lois J. Cavucci, Youngstown

Lois Cavucci is president and CEO of Lumen Christi, which is a consortium of Catholic schools in the Mahoning Valley.


Comments

1dennishough(5 comments)posted 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Typical catholic school bureaucratic answer. "We know everyone was upset at the way we handled this...so we reviewed the situation and decided that this is how we have always done things, so it's OK."

"Parents are mindful to check their child's book bag for communication". ARE YOU KIDDING ME? It's unbelievable that the diocese still doesn't understand why people are upset. Or they understand, but are unwilling to admit fault.

Dr. Cavucci, did you ever think that maybe enrollment has declined significantly BECAUSE of the way you've handled things in the past?

Why is it so hard to say "We're sorry for how this was handled, and we will not let this happen again"...but we all know why...because they're not sorry, and it will happen again...and again...and again...until all of the catholic schools are closed. The diocese simply does not understand that parents are the #1 driver of catholic school education. Their arrogant, elitist, condescending attitude must change, or the few remaining catholic schools will close also.

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2EWandF(24 comments)posted 3 weeks, 1 day ago

I guess that despite what these parents paid in tuition for their children to attend this school, they did not deserve the price of a stamp to inform them of this decision!! No excuses, Lois. Poor decision!
One other thing, another feeder school closes and they were seriously entertaining the thought of spending millions on a new high school without guarantee of new enrollees?

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3Silence_Dogood(1319 comments)posted 3 weeks, 1 day ago

When Saint Brendan was closed years ago the parents found out the School was closing from the crying children exiting the building at the end of the day. Father Daprille was so very wrong with his treatment of the children's need's and once again showed his arrogant nature, seems nothing has changed and nothing was learned.

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4tired2(12 comments)posted 3 weeks ago

The Diocese of Youngstown is on a downward spiral, most notably with the schools. Parents don't just pull their children out of the schools with no good reason. Wake up diocese and start doing comprehensive exit interviews on why the parents are pulling their kids out...and then do something about it. You need to find a diocese where the schools are flourishing and use some of their best practices. I would imagine those schools and parishes make Catholic students and families their number one priority, not students with vouchers who are not Catholic nor supporting members of their local Catholic church. You also need to step it up in the curriculum & technology areas. Too many older teachers who simply refuse to change. I had experience with teachers who would not post homework etc on the website because they just didn't want to. Also there were math teachers who were not certified for Algebra 1. You can't have these things going on and expect the schools to even maintain enrollment. We live in a time where we have a surplus of teachers locally so use it to your advantage if you cannot demand a teacher do what is necessary. If changes are not made, Catholic schools will not be in existence in Mahoning county in the next 5-10 years.

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