3 Bay, Saginaw area Catholic schools could close - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

3 Bay, Saginaw area Catholic schools could close

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(02/10/14) - Money troubles are prompting big changes for Catholic schools in Saginaw and Bay Counties.

This weekend, families received letters stating there will be proposed school closings for next year.

Lack of students and money are the two big reasons.

Bay Area Catholic Schools administrators propose closing two elementaries, while the Saginaw Area Catholic Schools are talking about one.

"I never thought I would see this in my lifetime," says Barb Ciszek.

Ciszek has been a parishioner of St. James Church in Bay City for more than three decades. The news that this could be St. James schools' last school year hit her hard.

"It really hurts, it really does because you know, a Catholic education is the best," she says.

The Bay Area Catholic Schools sent a letter to families this past weekend, saying administration will make a proposal to close St. James and Holy Trinity elementaries - those schools would consolidate with St. Johns. The Saginaw Area Catholic Schools Board of Education has also recommended closing one elementary school. The school most likely to close would be St. Stephens, although the board says if it can come up with $745,000 to renovate that building, it would consider keeping it open. If not, St. Stephens kids could transfer to St. Thomas Aquinas in Saginaw Township.

Kayleen Phillips says the lack of money is causing the closures. Her school, St. Mary's in Bay City, closed years ago, and Phillips says the trend continues.

"Enrollment is down, it's just disheartening, people are just walking away," she says.

Ciszek's four grandchildren attended St. James, but she says their parents had to pull them.

"It just got a little to expensive, you know you have to think of college too," she says.

The administration of both the Bay Area and Saginaw Area Catholic Schools will meet with parents and staff on Wednesday in Bay City, and Thursday in Saginaw to discuss the proposals.

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