Following a recent appeal by one of the schools involved in plans for a new regional school in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, changes to the plan have been made.
St. Michael School in West St. Paul, St. John Vianney School in South St. Paul and St. Matthew School on the west side of St. Paul will form one preschool-through-eighth-grade school based at St. Michael’s, beginning next fall.
Holy Trinity Catholic School in South St. Paul, which was originally part of the reconfigured campus plan and which made the appeal, will remain a parish school.
Another school in the area, St. Joseph in West St. Paul, also will remain a parish school, as outlined in the original plan announced last October.
In a mid-December letter to parents and guardians, Father John Echert, pastor of the parish overseeing Holy Trinity, said he appealed the decision to participate in the regional school following concerns raised by parents and parishioners and in consultation with school leadership.
“The Shared Resource Process was intended to allow each parish school to discern what was best for its community,” Father Echert wrote. “It became apparent through this process and in the wake of the initial decision that ‘best fit’ for us is parish-based.”
The future of the St. John Vianney school building, which will no longer serve as a second campus for the regional school as was called for in the initial plan last October, and the St. Matthew school building will be determined by their respective parishes.
The total enrollment of the three schools (St. Michael, St. John Vianney and St. Matthew) that will be part of the new regional school campus is 361. Holy Trinity has 133 students; St. Joseph has 572.
The changes will strengthen Catholic schools in this region of the archdiocese by making better use of financial, human and other resources, Marty Frauenheim, archdiocesan superintendent of Catholic schools, said when the reconfiguration was announced last fall.
The plan also is consistent with the archdiocese’s Strategic Plan, which calls for more collaboration and efficient use of resources among parishes and schools, she said.
In March 2011, a local task force made up of pastors, principals, parents and other stakeholders from the schools began the shared resources discussion process that led to the original regional school recommendation.
Many factors led to the decision to reconfigure the schools, including financial sustainability challenges, Frauenheim said.
The pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe in St. Paul, Father Kevin Kenney, was also involved in the shared resources discussions and will serve on the board of the regional school. He will assist the Latino community with the needs and interests of their students.
The boards of directors of the three schools and four sponsoring parishes that now will form the regional school have been meeting since the beginning of November and continue to plan for the future, said Mary Kane, assistant superintendent of schools.
In addition, steering committees for the regional school continue to meet around five topics: academic excellence, climate for learning, extracurricular activities, advancement, facilities and administration.
“My hope for the New Year is that all the excitement and energy I am hearing expressed by pastors, principals and the board of directors will energize all of us as we become part of the birth of a new Catholic school whose mission is to serve all the children and families in this region,” Frauenheim said.
For more information about Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, visit http://www.archspmschools.org.