Archdiocese to close some schools

February 6, 2009 3:45:33 AM PST
Eyewitness News has confirmed several closures of catholic schools in the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese. Holy Name Catholic School is one of four listed for closure by the archdiocese, and the official announcement will take place later today.[SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

In August, Holy Name Catholic School, St. Philip Neri, St. Charles Borromeo, and our Mother of Mercy will all close.

Parents are not surprised at the possibility of closure at Holy Name Catholic School.

"I think the community will lose this asset," said parent Able Mata. "The long history the school and the church has had in the community will be lost."

Parents found out yesterday by way of a letter sent from the archdiocese. The schools have fallen victim to low attendance and high maintenance costs.

In an editorial in this morning's newspaper, Cardinal Daniel Dinardo says a review of the school system in the archdiocese started a year and a half ago and while four will not reopen in August, others have "plans for refurbishing, construction of additional classrooms where needed," all in addition to new schools in high population areas. That does not take away the initial sting of this announcement.

Rumblings of closing the school have been around for years. Holy Name has been struggling to maintain, much less increase, attendance. The Pre-K through eighth grade Catholic school has an enrollment of about 130 students.

Parent Mary Martinez said, "It would be sad for the school to close. I'm like, 'Oh my God.' It's sad now talking about it. I can't get the words out."

One school that's faced hard financial times is Our Lady of Mount Carmel School in the Garden Villas area of southeast Houston. The attached Mount Carmel High School closed last year. Low enrollment and high maintenance costs were the reasons behind the decision. As a result, many parents pulled their elementary students from the school. The thought of closing the remaining campus is upsetting for longtime neighbors.

"It's frightening," said neighbor Billy Sparks. "I've been here for 20 years. The school has been there. There have been no problems whatsoever. It's very quiet. I really hate to see them go."

A letter to parents on Thursday afternoon confirmed the news as well. The letter lists four schools for closure from the archdiocese. They are St. Phillip Neri, St. Charles Borromeo, Our Mother of Mercy and Holy Name. Holy Name was established in 1925, making it one of Houston's oldest Catholic schools.

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