Need advice regarding my kids school


#1

Its kind of a long story but I will try to give the cliff notes.
My girls go to a smaller catholic school (about 300 kids K-8). At enrollment for this year they decided (fairly early in my opinion) to close registration for the K class which left them with one class of 28 kids. Not happy about the class size but didnt have a K student so let it pass. Now this year our priest has decided to close enrollment for the 2nd grade class for next year and combine the classes to 1 class of 28. This made alot of people take notice. So we asked for a meeting with the priest and the principal to discuss the reasoning behind this decision and discuss the future of our school. The priest seems to be avoiding all of us. He wont answer our requests, emails, phone calls nothing. From the outside looking in (us concerned parents) it looks like the school is failing and they are downsizing for a reason (which is unbeknownst to us). Also a side note this decision was not brought before the school board. When we talked to them about it they didnt even know a decision had been made.

My problem lies in that the priest will NOT meet with us. He has this reputation from prior years also not meeting with parents. I have to admit my faith is rattled a bit by his lack of compassion for our feelings and our kids education.

My question is what recourse do I have available to me besides pulling my kids from this school?

I dont know what to do and I feel like my hands are tied. Can anyone please help?


#2

Sorry to hear about your problems! FIrst of all, don't let this "one " priest "rattle your faith".
God is telling you something. Not sure what, but you could try to talk to the diocesan education director or whatever name they give the administrator for the diocese. The bishop should help too since you've already tried talking to the priest.

Who knows, maybe it's just coincidence, but it's possible that the school's funds are depleted or teachers are moving and they can't afford to hire a new one. The max class size is 28, right? Good luck...the squeaky wheel gets the oil!!!:D


#3

Thanks for the response. We have talked to someone at the Archdiocese office to no avail. It could totally be a financial decision but why wont the priest meet with us or respond to any of our questions? Its so frustrating that this man that we are supposed to go to for guidance seems to closed off to us.


#4

Thank you for coming here and sharing your story, that sounds so stressful. Please be assured of my prayers.

I re-read your post and a question, I don't see exactly what kind of answer that you are seeking and that may be compounding your frustration as your priest doesn't know what to tell you? Obviously your school has budget concerns, there are at every school this is no secret. How likely are they to close the school? You might not get an answer because probably no one knows, not even your pastor. Many factors go into closing a school, here where I live the decision to close a school is up to the Archdiocese and most schools will fight a good hard fight to find solutions before that happens.

Most priests I know are extremely busy. Between marriage counseling, Sacramental preparation, hearing confessions, arranging funerals and rushing off to hospitals to anoint the dying also the many other duties many of them are pushed to their limits. I know priests that receive several messages daily it's impossible for them to return all calls. Priority would be given to messages of life and death first I would imagine.

I am not trying to say that your priest has a perfectly good excuse, maybe he doesnt'. But it bothered me to read in your post that your "faith was rattled a bit" because of the actions of your priest. First and foremost, put your faith in Jesus Christ because he will never let you down! Don't let the action or inaction of a priest have an effect on your faith! Jesus loves you so much and he knows how stressed out you are, turn to him in prayer.

I would imagine that a parent calling about concern that a second grade class was condensed would not rate high on a priority list for the priest. Not that he doesn't care but he might be so busy he can't address the issue and he might be counting on the principal to handle it.

Also, I don't know how things are in your parish, but in my parish the parish and school budget are made public. See if yours is too and looking at that might help you.

I can see by your post that you are very stressed out and disappointed. Try and take this to prayer, Christ has the perfect plan for you and your children, listen to him he loves you so much.

Wish I could help more, God bless your day.


#5

First, blessings to you for sacrificing to have your children in a Catholic school.
I don't know what your priest's problem is, but he certainly should answer questions.
Perhaps he is extremely busy...I dunno.
However, as a teacher, I wouldn't worry too much about 28 children in a classroom. 40 years ago it was common to have appr. 40 children per class, and teachers were usually able to cope. I have taught much bigger classes than 28 children with no problem at all.
When my children were much younger, and before I went back to work full-time, I volunteered for my children's teachers. Ran copies, cut things out, graded papers, etc. I highly advise, if you possibly can, to volunteer. Teachers need all the help they can get!
One possibility is that educational costs are so high that the school must combine classes in order to make ends meet.
I would be very careful before pulling my children out of the school over this, though.****


#6

I am trying to figure out what the role of your school board is...:shrug: They were unaware of this happening? Well now that they know, what are they saying or doing? What is their response to any of this? Are you able to attend a school board meeting to express your concerns? You may need to make an appointment to get time to speak.

I understand your frustration. Sometimes, there is a take it or leave it attitude in some Catholic schools. When you have an opinion or feel that something else can be done, you are told if you don't like it, you are free to leave.


#7

Unfortunatly, I don't know what to tell you in regards to why your priest is avoiding talking to the parents, and why you have so little information about what is going on at your school. All I can tell you, from my experience, is to ignore all the little details, the pros and cons of staying in a Catholic school, and listen carefully to what God has to say to you. Ask Him what His will is in this situation. Does He still want your children to go to this school? The answer may surprise you. I know His answer to my question sure surprised me. Open up a dialogue with Him and wait peacefully for the answer. Start a nine day novena to a saint who can help you- like St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Then, when God makes known His will to you, you can take the next step, whether it be 'confronting' this priest, so to speak, or going with another school or something else. Good luck!:thumbsup:


#8

The school is still open, and it sounds as if they're taking necessary steps (lowering costs with fewer classes) to see that the school remains open. My son's school used to have two classes at every grade, and then the year he started kindergarten, they went to only one class per grade -- it was a monetary decision, and one made to keep the school going. Class sizes are larger now (I've heard stories of classes of only 15 or 16 students before the change!), but everything's still going great as far as faith and education are concerned.

As for the priest not answering your questions... as a public school teacher, I can tell you it's the same all over! I agree with a previous poster that information regarding why decisions were made are generally left for the principal to communicate. Often the pastor won't handle these things because there are simply too many people requesting the same information -- and the decision has already been made.

I do truly understand your frustration, both as a parent and as a teacher in the public system. We don't have the power to change things, and we don't even feel that our voices are even being heard. As a Catholic, I am so thankful I can offer up these sufferings for the salvation of souls. Otherwise I'd go out of my mind with frustration :blush:

I hope you get some of the answers you need, even if you don't get the answers you want.

Gert


#9

Thank You SO much for all your responses. They mean more to me than you could know!

Monicad ~ The answer I am ultimately looking for is what is the future of our school?? While I am almost positive the reason for the changes at school are financial I just feel as a parent my concerns are being heard. I think someone else hit the nail on the head, almost the attitude “if you dont like it than you can leave” mentality. Maybe I was niave in thinking a catholic school would be different but for me it seems like every other school except we are paying more to send them there.

Musician ~ Thanks for the reassurance about the class size. While I still dont like the fact that the classes are so big we plan to stick it out at least one more year and see what happens. ONe of the reasons I chose to send them to catholic school was for the smaller class size. Not saying they would get a better education but I could send them to the public school right across the street and have less than 20 in a class and maybe they would get at least a little more one on one attention. And I do volunteer at the school ALOT. I am always in the girls classes offering any service I can give. Thast another reason I chose this school. I LOVE being able to go into the school and know everyone and be involved.

Irishmom ~ I dont know what the purpose of the school board is honestly. And here is the story about that. There was supposed to be a meeting (which we were all going to attend) on March 22. That meeting was cancelled and now there isn’t going to be one til next month. Now the ironic thing about that is that our registration for next year is due by March 31st. So now people that are trying to make decisions on what they want to do with their children (either move them or stay here) have their hands tied. Either they double enroll them or risk losing their spots possibly at both schools. Personally I think this sounds a little shadey but thats just my 2 cents.

wild thing ~ I had a LONG talk with God last night during my walk. I have never heard of the Nine Day Novena but I am going to look into it. Thanks for the suggestion!!

Gertabelle ~ You are probably right but I just hate the thought that my hands are tied and there is nothing I can do. I mean this is my childrens education its SO important and I want the best for them.

Again a HUGE Thank You to everyone that responded. My husband and I had a long talk about this last night. While nothing was decided I do feel better just getting it all off my chest. And between taking a long walk last night and chatting with God and coming here for support I do feel a little lighter this morning even though I still dont know whats going to happen.


#10

Sorry about this situation, but glad you're becoming more at peace with it. I know it's frustrating when it seems like big decisions are made without knowing the reasons, but hopefully there are good, sound reasons for this and they will soon come to light.

Just wanted to also respond to the class size comments... our parish school has 2 classes per grade - each filled to ~28 students. The principal openly speaks about this and mentions that they want to be able to admit as many people as possible, but still there are students that are turned away due to overcrowding. Tuition justifies just 2 teachers per grade - and she openly talks about how this keeps tuition rates at a reasonable number. No parents at our school have complained about the class size after hearing these reasons... most are thankful to be accepted at the school.

Prayers for your situation! :)


#11

Em ~ that is the most frustrating part of all of this, there is NO communication. And without communication you have nothing. I feel like we are not a valued family at that school. If I wanted to be just a number I would send them to public school. A little communication is all I am asking for and I don't think thats to much?


#12

[quote="rileysmom, post:3, topic:233551"]
Thanks for the response. We have talked to someone at the Archdiocese office to no avail. It could totally be a financial decision but why wont the priest meet with us or respond to any of our questions? Its so frustrating that this man that we are supposed to go to for guidance seems to closed off to us.

[/quote]

Do you attend parish council meetings? Are they open to all members? Do they have an education council that meets regularly? One of these groups made or helped make these decisions and they probably hashed it out in great detail.

I am not saying this is the case - so please don't take offense - but many times people will find the information is available by just getting a bit more involved with the process.

I know our priest took several hits for being "unresponsive" to calls about our building project. The parish had several open meetings and everything was hashed out and discussed in detail. Weeks and months later parish members complained that their opinions were not being responded to - and you guessed it - these were the same people that couldn't be bothered to attend meetings where many of these decisions were made. The problem is our priest did not have time to meet with every parishioner that wanted to complain about the building project that could have voiced their opinion at one of the meetings. He had his hands full running 3 parishes, meeting with the sick, running three education programs, overseeing a capital fund raising drive and administering a multi million dollar construction project.

I also understand that some preists run their parish by edict - but those tend to be rare.


#13

Thanks for your response Sam.

I dont know of any parish council meetings? We do have a school board and I just recently found out they are open to the public so I will be going to those in the future. We have talked to a few school board members and they have told us they knew nothing about this decision and hadnt even realized a decision had been made? I consider myself to be pretty involved in our school so thats why this is so frustrating to me.

I understand what you are saying about the priest being a man with many different hats and always being busy. I sympathize with that. But like any job if you have people around you he should be able to delegate and make sure nothing falls through the cracks. I feel like we are last on his priority list. I realize there are more pending things on his desk but I also dont think we should be last on the list. This is our children we are talking about. After listening to him preach for so many years about our children being our future I feel he is failing us by not taking an interest in this when so many of us are clearly upset. This has been going on for 2 months now not just a week or 2.


#14

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