Parents, parishioners want to save St. Stephen school - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Parents, parishioners want to save St. Stephen school

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SAGINAW (WJRT) -

(03/21/14) - Parents and students of St. Stephen in Saginaw have had a few days now to absorb the news that their building will be closing at the end of this school year.

The Catholic Diocese of Saginaw says the decision is necessary because of declining enrollment and dwindling funds.
 
The diocese plans to consolidate St. Stephen with St. Thomas in Saginaw Township, but it appears some parishioners and parents are working on a different plan one that might keep it open.

A state girls basketball championship is celebrated this week at Nouvel Catholic Central. Many of the players attended St. Stephen and St. Thomas, the feeder schools for Nouvel. The rivalry between the two helps build a competitive spirit that contributes to the success of the Nouvel program, but that rivalry will be gone as St. Stephen is scheduled to close its doors this summer.

Tony Coppolino, of Coppolino Insurance, went to St. Stephen in the 1960s and is not ready to see his school close.

"I think there are a group of parents that feel that St. Stephens is salvageable," he says.

Coppolino and other parishioners and parents are still discussing options in hopes of keeping the school open. He would like to start a dialogue with Bishop Joseph Cistone.

"That if we approach the Bishop, he might possibly reconsider," Coppolino says.

He would like to see the Saginaw Area Catholic Schools develop a marketing campaign to attract more families and students, something the schools president says is being worked on.

"We are going to make a more concerted effort to engage the parents and stakeholders and other populations in marketing and developing," she says.

Coppolino says something has to change because closing schools hasn't helped bring students into the fold.

"Its how it went with St. Pete's, with St. Helens, and St. Andrews and the cathedral, and Holy Family and Holy Rosary and all the other schools that have closed," he said.

Bishop Cistone does want to have a meeting with parents to go over the interim strategy on how the schools will move forward, but a date has not been set yet.

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