The Compass: Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
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February 2, 2001 Issue
Local News

ACES, Xavier could merge July 1

Single board would be formed to run entire Appleton school system

By Joanne Flemming
Compass Correspondent

The proposed merger between Appleton's Catholic Education System and Appleton's Xavier High School could occur by July 1.

On that date, the boards that oversee ACES and Xavier could be dissolved and a single board of trustees for the entire pre-K to 12 system would be formally created, said Jim Sweeney, spokesperson for the merger's corporate committee.

"I don't know if we are going to make it but that's the timeline," Sweeney said.

Right now the corporate committee is looking for 13 to 15 people to serve as trustees. It has also set up an ad hoc committee to develop a job description for the new system's president and begin a national search for that person.

According to that timeline, Sweeney noted, the new president would ideally be hired by the start of the 2001-2002 school year.

He pointed out a couple concerns the corporate committee faces in setting up the new board:

• One, the present ACES and Xavier boards are made up of representatives from the parishes the systems serve.

The new board would not be a representative board, but rather a "board of expertise," Sweeney said. Members would be chosen for the contributions they could make.

He said that Bob Shea, Shea Consulting of Dallas, advised the corporate committee to "cast the net even wider than the immediate area" when conducting that search.

The corporate committee hired Shea to help plan the upcoming merger.

• Two, because Xavier is a regional high school, representatives on its board came from parishes outside Appleton as well as the city. Those parishes have "always had a significant say and involvement in the Xavier board," said Sweeney.

"We want to make sure we maintain that regional contact and regional feel," Sweeney said.

He added that the corporate committee is considering keeping representatives from all parishes involved by asking them to serve on advisory committees for the new president.

Sweeney said the corporate committee was created about five years ago for joint fundraising for ACES and Xavier. At that time, ACES was considering the need for a new St. Joseph Middle School. Xavier was contemplating remodeling and other capital projects.

The corporate committee reports to the corporate board which is composed of Bp. Robert Banks and the pastors from the parishes that own ACES schools and Xavier.

Once they are recruited, the biggest issue the new trustees will face, the spokesperson continued, will be "long-term financial liability" and the need to look for increased funding outside parish subsidies.

Parish subsidies make up 40% of the ACES' budget and 20 % of Xavier's.

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