Sunday, January 21, 2007

Press Release/Meeting on school closures

I received a few notices of this meeting in my email, so I figured I'd post it here for all to see.


The Parent groups of Bishop Hafey High School, Bishop O'Reilly
High School and Seton Catholic High School are hosting a forum to
discuss their response to the Bishop's final plan in closing the
schools. It is asked that anyone interested in Catholic education in
Luzerne County attend. It is the hope that parents, students, alumni,
relatives and friends of students who are affected by the Bishop's
decision will attend. It is particularly asked that the Bishop Hoban
High School parents, students, alumni, relatives and friends who also
wish to enter into this discussion attend.

Being that all the elementary Catholic grade schools in Luzerne
County are affected, those parents, alumni, relatives and friends are
asked to attend.

The purpose of the meeting is to discuss specific ways to let
the Bishop and the people of the Scranton Diocese know how this
decision, which is against general Catholic teaching and philosophy as
we all have known it, is strictly a business decision. The meeting will
be held Sunday, January 21, 2007 from 2:00p.m to 5:00p.m at Convention
Hall in Pittston Township which is conveniently located off Route 315
and Route 81. The site was selected since it is accessible and because
of the capacity to hold a large number of people. Any further
information concerning same please contact the various leaders of the
parents groups and/or contact any parent in the three schools that are
actually hosting this forum.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Press Release on school closures

******The following is taken from the offical press release, which can
be read in full at

Bishop Hafey High School, Bishop Hoban High School, Bishop O’Reilly
High School, and Seton Catholic High School will close. A single high
school will be established to serve Luzerne County at the facility in

Bishop Martino noted that he has spoken to Bishop Edward P. Cullen of
the Diocese of Allentown to assure the families of the students from
Bishop Hafey that an arrangement with Marian Catholic High School in
Hometown is one that will provide a Catholic high school education to
students from the greater Hazleton area. He also stressed that the
Diocese of Scranton, in particular the parishes of the greater Hazleton
area, will remain connected to the students from their respective
parishes who attend Marian Catholic High School.

The following elementary sites will remain:

Holy Family Academy, Hazleton, which will become a PK-Grade 8 program
located at the Bishop Hafey site.
St. Aloysius, Wilkes-Barre
SS. Peter and Paul, Plains
St. Nicholas/St. Mary, Wilkes-Barre
Gate of Heaven, Dallas
St. Jude, Mountaintop
Holy Rosary, Duryea
Wyoming Area Catholic, Exeter
St. Mary Assumption, Pittston
A new elementary center will be established at the present Bishop
O’Reilly High School building for students in Pre-Kindergarten to Grade
The sites that will no longer operate are:

St. Boniface, Wilkes-Barre – which will be combined at the new
elementary center in Kingston.
Sacred Heart, Wilkes-Barre – which will be combined at the new
elementary center in Kingston.
Regis Elementary, Forty Fort – which will be combined at the new
elementary center in Kingston.
Sacred Heart, Luzerne – which will be combined at the new elementary
center in Kingston.
Sacred Heart, Dupont – which will combine with Wyoming Area Catholic
Pope John Paul II, Nanticoke – which will combine with St. Aloysius
and/or the new elementary center in Kingston.
The Individualized Instruction program that operates at Regis
Elementary and Bishop O’Reilly High School will be continued at the
elementary center in Kingston and at the high school in Wilkes-Barre.

Bishop Martino cited the Meitler consultants’ observations that all of
the Local Consultative Groups and other interested parties had provided
thoughtful and detailed proposals. In particular, the proposals
regarding the high schools included ambitious plans for fundraising and
student recruitment.

However, the consultants determined that past history, current trends
and demographic projections do not support the realistic prospect that
these goals can be achieved. Furthermore, neither the Diocese nor the
parishes can afford to subsidize the schools while these goals are
being pursued.

“I know that some people will be disappointed with these outcomes, and
it has been difficult for me to make some of these decisions, but I
believe they are necessary,” Bishop Martino said. “Now I ask everyone
to join with us as this plan is implemented.”

Financial Support for Catholic Schools

A common formula for determining parish assessments will be utilized
throughout the Diocese. It is the responsibility of all Catholics to
provide financial support for Catholic schools. Therefore, all parishes
will contribute based on their income and a sliding scale.

Many parishes with schools are providing a level of financial support
that is not sustainable and jeopardizes other important aspects of
parish ministry. The new system will establish an equitable formula
with all parishes sharing in the support of Catholic schools.


Regional Catholic school systems (Pre-K to 12) will be formed for both
Lackawanna/Wayne and Luzerne Counties . The systems will each be
governed by boards of clergy and laity with delegated authority and
responsibility. The boards will be directly accountable to the Diocese
and will have responsibility for areas such as planning, finance,
policy development, public relations, marketing and institutional

Implementation of the Plan

The principals at each school will be forming transitional teams to
address the practical aspects of the reorganization and the particular
issues that will affect their respective school communities.

A process for registration for the 2007-08 academic year will be
announced in the near future.

Meanwhile, the Diocesan human resources director is working with
teacher representatives to develop a fair and equitable policy
regarding school personnel. After registration is complete and the
number of personnel needed is determined, the policy will be completed.

The Diocesan Finance Office is working on preliminary budgets for the
2007-08 school year.

“We will all work together to enhance our Catholic identity, advance
our curriculum, plan for facility upgrades, technological advances, and
other programs to ensure that every student has the opportunity to
obtain a quality Catholic education,” Bishop Martino said.

The Bishop added that the uncertainty that often surrounds the status
of particular schools from year to year should be dispelled now that
the Strategic Plan has been determined.

“The future for Catholic education in the Diocese of Scranton
begins today,” Bishop Martino said. “We will chart a path that takes
our schools through the 21st century – a path that will provide all of
our students with a quality Catholic education that is accessible and
affordable for families and parishes."