The following comes from a July 23 Westside Connect article:
GUSTINE – Students, parents and staff members at Our Lady of Miracles School, who had been preparing for the start of a new school year in a few short weeks, were stunned to learn Wednesday that the K-8 parochial school is closing.
On Thursday, members of the Our Lady of Miracles community vowed to do everything in their power to convince Fresno Diocese Bishop Armando Ochoa to reconsider his decision to close the school.
Families, many with multi-generational ties to Our Lady of Miracles, found themselves facing the prospect of finding new schools for their children and little time to do so.
Teachers, meanwhile, are thrown into the job market at a time when most positions have already been filled in preparation for the fast-arriving school year.
No clear reasons were given for the closure, several parents stated, nor was the community given any advance notice or opportunity to rally behind the school before its fate had been determined.
Shrinking enrollment and the school’s difficulty in filling its principal position in recent years were contributing factors, several sources indicated.
Some parents and staff members summoned to separate meetings Wednesday went believing that the gatherings were called to announce the hiring of a new principal. Instead, they learned that the school was shutting its doors.
“They said we were in a crisis. We didn’t even know that we were in a crisis,” said Our Lady of Miracles parent Barbara Azevedo. “As far as we knew, we were coming back Aug. 20. Had we known, we all would have risen to the occasion to do what we could to make it work.”
Parent Melissa Ventura said that, by all accounts, finances were not at the heart of the decision to close the school.
“I think that if someone would have said that they were going to give the school $1 million, I don’t think it would have changed anything,” she commented.