St. John Catholic School faces an uncertain future as the community rallies behind the beloved landmark.
The school advisory council announced last week that the school’s budget is suffering and an oversight committee has been formed to try and help bring the school back to being a profitable endeavor. The committee will be made up of one member each from the three councils that govern St. John; the School Advisory Council, the Parish Finance Committee and the Parish Advisory Council. As well as the high school principal, Chris Rebuck and Father Edison Vela, a business manager will also round out the committee.
Financial difficulties are not a new problem for the school or any other Catholic schools in the country according to Rebuck.
“This is not an uncommon problem for us or for any other Catholic schools. The past decade has seen many close because of low enrollment and lack of donations. We have been struggling with every new school year to find a piece of the funding needed and that carries over, which leaves us in the position we are in now,” he said.
Rebuck knows the threat to close the doors at St. John is very real but says he is hopeful for the future.
“The threat came from not being able to cover our budget but I think the community at St. John has responded to the challenge,” he said.
The community as a whole has also given Rebuck hope that St. John will turn its bout of misfortune around.
“We are only at the early stages of making our game plan and the community has already started to unite and step up to the challenge, I take that as a very positive sign,” he said.
The school has some tough decisions to make but Rebuck feels the first step is to create a marketing plan.
“I think we need to identify what people are looking for in a school and seek out those people who would thrive in this environment and help the school flourish. We need to create an atmosphere where people will want to invest by sending their students here or by donating their time, talent or whatever they can give. I feel like due to the times we live in that the school has to be run like a business, we need a game plan but the ministry of the church still has to be prevalent. I’m confident a balance can be found,” Rebuck said.
The upcoming months will be crucial to the school as a final decision needs to be made by December of this year. The committee will be organizing many options, including various fundraisers that will be planned for maximum effect because as the old adage points out, “every little bit helps.”
The school advisory council will meet this week to begin the process of putting the steps in place to save the school.
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