The Diocese of Monterey has closed Good Shepherd Catholic School in Santa Cruz.
The superintendent says it’s due to ongoing funding and enrollment problems but parents disagree and say they’ve lost faith in their diocese.
“I know that there will be some who wish to appeal this decision or ask me to keep the school open for another year, but regretfully this decision is final,” the statement said.
Parents say they were told the school would remain open if they met the Monterey Diocese enrollment goal of 90 students by June 30 but the district said they never met the criteria.
“We were able to raise $20,000 in just a couple of days; a day in a half so we’re getting so close then we do have an endowment,” said Ayla Smith, Good Shepherd Catholic School Parent Club President Seven Steering Committee Chair.
“We were going off with what was at hand and even with the donations that were received and the pledges that were received, it didn’t meet the $20,000 level. We do have an endowment but it’s a permanently restricted endowment where we can’t use the principle,” said Kimberly Chang, the Diocese of Monterey School Superintendent.
“As parents, they didn’t do us justice but as kids, they didn’t do them justice either. They didn’t get to say goodbye to their friends,” parent Amber Artiaga said.
The Diocese is offering $500 scholarships for Good Shepherd students who enroll in one of the other Catholic schools in the community, but some parents say they’ve lost their faith in the Diocese because they offered false hope of keeping the school open.
“If I do another Catholic School, it won’t be a Catholic school run through the [Diocese of Monterey County] because in my opinion. I can’t trust the diocese,” Smith said.
The superintendent plans to meet individually with each of the 20 staff members and teachers in the weeks to come to support their transition.
“But it’s hard to start over and it’s hard to leave a place where your heart is at, like I said, it’s my second family,” preschool director Kristen Barkman said.
There are rumors that the reason the school closed was so the diocese could sell the property but the superintendent said they have not made any plans for the property or for the land.
The above comes from a July story on KSBW-8 news.