“We need to stop the hemorrhaging now”

Five schools to close, seven troubled schools gain new life in Oakland diocese

Our Lady of the Rosary opened in Union City in 1967. (photo: The Catholic Voice)

The face of Catholic education in the Diocese of Oakland will change with a plan that will close five schools, and move seven schools into a separate network charged with bolstering the educational and faith formation experience by sharing teaching specialists and administrative services.

The five schools that will close at the end of the 2016-17 school year are: Sts. Jarlath, Lawrence O’Toole and Martin de Porres, all in Oakland; Our Lady of the Rosary School in Union City; and St. Jerome School in El Cerrito.

Parents at the five schools that are closing were notified by letter that was sent home with students on Jan. 19. The closure affects approximately 642 students and 90 employees. There is ample room for the students at the seven network schools, as well as nearby Catholic schools, the diocese said.

The seven schools that will join the new network in fall 2018 are Sts. Anthony and Elizabeth in Oakland; Queen of All Saints School in Concord; St. Catherine of Siena School in Martinez; St. Cornelius School in Richmond; St. Paul School in San Pablo; and St. Peter Martyr School in Pittsburg.

St. Jarlath opened in Oakland in 1930. (photo: The Catholic Voice)

Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, said the closures and creation of the network come at the end of a “major diocesan consultation process that’s been going on for two years,” studying finances, parishes, schools and charitable works. The committee, he said, included a mixed group of people, not just those involved in schools. “I think it’s been very healthy,” he said.

The schools that are closing have experienced “consistent drops in enrollment,” Bishop Barber said.

“We’re offering a good product but our families don’t want to take advantage of it, or can’t, either because they can’t pay tuition, which is reasonable by private school standards, or Catholic education for their kids is not something they consider important.

“The rising rents and mortgage costs of living in the East Bay take up so much of their earned income, that there’s little left over food and living, let alone a ‘luxury’ item like Catholic education,” he said.

One of the main benefits of the network the bishop said he sees is funding. “Right now, they’re all chasing the same benefactors,” he said. “Whether you’re in Richmond or East Oakland or Union City or West Oakland, you’re chasing the same corporations. I want to have one development director to get money that will be shared with all the schools.

“They found in other dioceses, when they formed the separate network, donations from corporations went up,” he said.

What the diocese can’t do, he said, is continue to keep the doors open at schools with empty desks.

“I think there’s a mistaken assumption that it’s the duty of the Catholic Church to provide a nearly free education for anyone who wants to come to our school,” he said. “I think that is false.”

Full story at The Catholic Voice.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m surprised the Our Lady of the Democrat Diocese of Oakland, America’s biggest liberal stooge factory, has any Schools left… more and more working Catholic families, who are not given scholarships and charged an EXTORTION rate of tuition, are realizing you can get the same crappy education for free at public school, which is actually less militantly liberal than so called, “Catholic” school…

  2. Catherine says:

    “I think there’s a mistaken assumption that it’s the duty of the Catholic Church to provide a nearly free education for anyone who wants to come to our school,” he said. “I think that is false.”

    The martyrs, and the saints, would, remind Bishop Barber, that the greatest mistaken assumption, is to think that gifts of supernatural abundance, are based on chasing Corporate funds. That is false.

    When you TRULY uphold and represent *everything* that Christ already built, then, “they will come” and so will abundant resources. Compromises and weaknesses in upholding the fullness of Truth, are tantamount to coexisting with a state of perpetual decline. Many schools are withering away on the Spiritually Neglected vine.

  3. St. Christopher says:

    No, Bishop, people are not abandoning your Catholic schools because they are spending all their money on rent and food. Catholics are not going to your schools, generally, because they are not going to Church much, either, or living a Catholic life. The Church in CA is simply broken and its leaders do nothing — nothing — to recognize that they need to teach the True Faith to people: the rest will come.

    People flock to good Catholic schools where there is Faith. Talking about “welcoming everyone” and being “diverse” and all that garbage will not make people think that a Catholic education is a good thing. The key is “Catholic” education.

  4. Oakland, while under Democrat Leftist leadership of Bishop Michael Barber, friend of Gov. Jerry Brown, has not emphasized Catholic morality. Thus, no need for “Catholic” education. One wonders how many Catholic school principals and teachers are still mourning the loss of Hillary as president.

    So, be of good cheer, when the Left closes schools—especially in hard Left neighborhoods like Oakland—it is a blessing for children. At least they will not be misled that the Catholic Faith is the official faith of the Left which glorifies homosex, illegal immigration, abortion and the “f” word.

  5. Michael McDermott says:

    Funny – Not, how these Rich Activists / Silicon real estate developers gave Santa Clara University a $100 million gift – but Catholic Elementary Schools couldn’t get a dime of it.

    But then the Faculty at SCU Is controlled by notoriously Anti-Catholic Misandrists (Hateful to Men & Boys, Masculinity & Normal Heterosexuality) – so it is PC to fund their Hate.
    CCD Reported:
    The patriarch and matriarch = John A., ’60, and Susan Sobrato – $100 million to Santa Clara University to help create the Sobrato Campus for Discovery and Innovation.

  6. Wow, a whole lot of knocking of the Bishop, and by supposedly Catholics.
    And all have one thing in common: they have opted out of active participation in Catholic Education.
    Used to be that the Catholic faithful would stand with their Bishop, affirm him, provide material support for him and the church and her schools, and work to grow up the next faithful generation.
    Now instead so much crankery here. In reality there is no “free lunch.” Though the Bishop is a Jesuit, a good Benedictine maxim is “ora et labora” (pray and work). Yes God will provide according to His Plans in response to our petitions, but someone still has to go out and till and weed the field to ensure a material harvest!

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