LONG BEACH — Sister Rita Campos has shaped the lives of students at St. Athanasius Catholic School since 1982. But the principal of the K-8 school in North Long Beach will soon step down at the end of the school year.
Father Francis Ilano of St. Athanasius Church announced Tuesday that the school has suffered financially in recent years and that there would be a change in the school’s leadership, resulting in the replacement of Campos with newcomers to the school.
Three Franciscan sisters, two priests and a deacon of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles work at the school, according to the St. Athanasius website. The North Long Beach school has earned a reputation for allowing needy students, such as the children of domestic workers and undocumented immigrants, the opportunity to attend parochial school by offering them reduced tuition.
Ilano and Campos could not be reached for comment Wednesday. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles, which oversees all religious schools in the region, issued a statement saying the school is undergoing changes as part of a plan to increase enrollment and revenue and manage costs.
In addition to Campos, the other two Franciscan sisters who serve the school will leave in June.
On Tuesday, Ilano distributed a handout to members of the St. Athanasius community that noted the school has lost $150,000 in tuition and fees annually since the 2000-01 school year when 245 students attended the school. Today, just 160 students attend.
The handout identified increasing enrollment and tuition as solutions to St. Athanasius’ financial shortfall as well as fundraising.
Sonia Verduzco, a 1992 St. Athanasius alumna, said she doesn’t understand how replacing Campos with outside leadership would benefit the struggling school, given that the nuns essentially work for free while outsiders would require salaries.
“The Franciscan sisters were the ones who started the school, and they have been there for about 66 years,” Verduzco said.
This article comes from a February 11 article by Nadra Nittle in the Long Beach Press Telegram.
“Sonia Verduzco, a 1992 St. Athanasius alumna, said she doesn’t understand how replacing Campos with outside leadership would benefit the struggling school, given that the nuns essentially work for free while outsiders would require salaries.”
Sonia, Sonia, Sonia – the good Franciscan Sisters get paid the SAME as any other teacher, and rightfully so.
They must support their many elderly Sisters in the infirmary, and their Religious Orders need the money just to make ends meet. Even though an individual Sister may be able to survive on very little, she’s part of a “family” (the Franciscans), and they can only survive and pay their own bills by having their Sisters work as teachers, nurses, and so forth.
Perhaps the pastor of the school is dismissing the sisters because they have been too kind, allowing poor children to attend school without paying full tuition?
Maybe he wants someone in charge who is more hard-nosed when it comes to collecting the fees?
We have seen this happen here in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, where sisters (from the Philippines and other countries) generously welcomed the poor, but then there were so many poor students the salaries and bills were not getting paid. It’s a dilemma…
John, how much $ did you personally donate to St. Athanasius Catholic School in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 ?
(If nothing much, why are you complaining about others?)
Society justly requires that people pay their bills.
God’s Commandment – ” Thou Shall NOT Steal ” – includes paying just bills.
CCC: ” 2411 Contracts are subject to commutative justice which regulates exchanges between persons and between institutions in accordance with a strict respect for their rights.
Commutative justice obliges strictly;
it requires safeguarding property rights, PAYING DEBTS, and fulfilling obligations freely contracted.
Without commutative justice, no other form of justice is possible.
One distinguishes commutative justice from legal justice which concerns what the citizen owes in fairness to the community,
and from distributive justice which regulates what the community owes its citizens in proportion to their contributions and needs. “
It’s not free when someone else is paying for it.
It’s probably a step toward the final closing of the school.
If they have so few students that they can not pay their own DEBTS, that is the way it is.
Nothing can operate for free in this world.
Catholic schools for the most part are required to pay their own way. Students are charged full tuition if they can afford it, and with scholarships if they can’t. The problem of course is that too many, today, can’t afford any tuition. The number of Catholics is diminishing because of local migration patterns and as a result of the lack of people who believe in any religious tenets. But, there may be another one or two issues at play. My experience is that most Catholic schools don’t think of themselves a major centers of evangelization, or as recipients of well developed stewardship. Most of us Catholics are not taught nor do we, myself included, practice proper stewardship. For example, we do not set aside 10% of our income each month for the Church, and then use the rest to pay rent, auto loans, buy food, etc. We do the reverse. We pay the rent, pay for the car, buy food, and if there is anything left we put a little in the basket on Sunday. We throw in a couple of dollars when we should be putting in a fifty dollar check. Think about it. If our annual income is $36,000 per year, less taxes, we likely take home around$28,000 which means we should set aside $2,800 per year for the Church, or $53 per week. Perhaps if we followed the teachings of the Bible, these schools would not have to close. There is a teaching challenge for the Bishops and Pastors: convince us to follow the Bible’s teachings about stewardship as well as sexual issues..
A two bedroom apartment in San Francisco now runs about $40,000 a year. How does that fit into your equation, Bob One?
That school was horrible, German nuns torturing tiny helpless children , worst school on earth