Three Mishawaka Catholic schools to merge

By: Brandon Lewis Email
By: Brandon Lewis Email

Bishop Kevin Rhoades, of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese, announced the three Catholic schools in Mishawaka will merge to form the Mishawaka Catholic School for the 2011-2012 school year.

The diocese expects to save at least $325,000 through the consolidation.

"That pooling of resources, I think, will be a great benefit and across our country we've seen the success of this model," said Rhoades at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

The combination will turn the existing schools into campuses under the new school.

Kindergarten through second grade will be at St. Bavo School. Third grade through fifth grade will be at St. Joseph School. Middle school will be at St. Monica.

Each grade will have two classes, instead of three.

"We'll have now full classrooms, whereas before we had before in some of the schools, half the seats were empty," said Rhoades. "In a sense there's been a working together in athletics already, which kind of helps in this process because a lot of the children know each other."

Rhoades said the diocese will use the next 11 months to prepare for the consolidation.

"It gives us time to recruit a good principal and also we'll be forming a school board with representatives from all three parishes, so those are two things that will probably begin within days," said Rhoades.

Eight to nine teachers will lose their jobs, as well as the principals. Rhoades said the diocese will help them find other jobs, possibly at neighboring Catholic schools. They are also hopeful some teachers will take early retirement to save less experienced teachers jobs.

The diocese expects to strengthen its math and science programs and look at adding band and foreign language at Marian with the savings.

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