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OAKLAND – The Diocese of Oakland is strengthening Catholic elementary school education through a long-range plan that will include the establishment of an independent network for seven schools and the closure of five under enrolled schools.
The network, which will launch in the fall of 2018, is expected to attract families and major foundations interested in a robust academic setting permeated with Christian morals. “There is no more effective way to form the whole person – intellectually, morally and communally – than to infuse a rigorous academic program with the timeless message of Jesus Christ, and deliver it in a safe, respectful atmosphere,” explained Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ.
The new network will be overseen by an independent board of directors, whose membership will be approved by Bishop Barber, to ensure transparent accountability for Catholic identity and financial matters. A team will be assembled in the next few weeks so the network will be operational by the fall of 2018. The new network is being modeled after similar, successful efforts in Catholic dioceses across the country.
The seven schools to become members of the new network are: Queen of All Saints, Concord; St. Anthony, Oakland; St. Catherine of Siena, Martinez; St. Cornelius, Richmond; St. Elizabeth, Oakland; St. Paul, San Pablo; and St. Peter Martyr, Pittsburg.
The following schools will close at the end of this school year, June 2017: Our Lady of the Rosary, Union City; St. Jarlath, Oakland; St. Jerome, El Cerrito; St. Lawrence O’Toole, Oakland; and St. Martin de Porres, Oakland. Although Diocesan and school personnel have made major efforts to increase enrollment and reduce Diocesan subsidies at these schools, they cannot project a successful return to sufficient enrollment and financial sustainability.
Families attending the five closing schools will have the opportunity to begin the process of applying to other Diocesan schools for the fall of 2017. Recognizing the disruption caused by these closures, Diocesan and local personnel are committed to smoothing the transition for families.
While acknowledging the challenges in both closures and the establishment of a new network, Bishop Barber said facing these challenges is preferable to witnessing a demise of Catholic education in the Diocese. “Our Catholic schools have always been places of hope, inspiration and success,” he said. “Our graduates have changed the world for the better, having received a rigorous academic training, an infusion of the joy of the Gospel and witnessed what it means to be a generous and charitable person. We want to keep that kind of opportunity alive for future generations.”
For more information, contact:
Helen Osman, Communications
Diocese of Oakland
2121 Harrison Street, Suite 100
Oakland, CA 94612