Area Catholic school may close its doors due to lack of funding
By Heather Sawaski
CLINTONVILLE (WAOW) -- An area catholic school is in jeopardy of closing its doors next year. Leaders of St. Mary's/St. Rose Catholic School in Clintonville say they can no longer afford to operate. But parents and staff are still holding out hope.
St. Rose/St. Mary's Catholic School in Clintonville has been educating kids for more than a century. But the tradition may soon end because of money. The school is funded through a mix of tuition, private donations, and money from the parishes. But the economic downturn hit the community hard, and the churches can no longer pay their share.
"As we've looked at our budgets this year, things are really serious," said Parish Director Lincoln Wood. "The school is hanging on by a thread and we need support."
They need to raise $350,000 to keep the doors open. Last week, the school sent home a letter saying they can't renew the contracts of 5 full time and 4 part time teachers because right now, they don't have a way to pay for them.
Parents and staff have started a fundraising effort, taking to the popular social website Facebook. It's a group called "1,000 People Who Care About Catholic Education In Clintonville And Bear Creek."
"Since Facebook is such a good medium to bring people together quickly, I thought, I'm going to make a Facebook page and see who cares out there," explained Jennifer Wood, Director of Religious Education and mother of 4 students. "And it's been amazing. We have almost 300 members of our group so far."
Three hundred members who've already pledged to donate more than $14,000. Jennifer says every little bit helps, and she has faith the community will come through to save their school.
"The school offers our children, not only that strong academic education, but a strong character formation as well in the Catholic tradition," she said. "I want that for my kids and I think it's important for our whole community."
"My boys love it here," said parent Sandra Finger. "They love the atmosphere, the close knit family we have. It's not just a school."
Students are also getting involved. They've organized a community bake sale next week to help raise money.
The school hasn't set a deadline for raising the money, but leaders say it's needed in the next few months.