Consolidation talks advance
Seven of 10 east side Green Bay Schools vote to proceed
By Joanne Flemming
Planning is moving forward to consolidate some eastside Green Bay parish schools after seven of 10 parishes voted for it. The other three want to remain independent.
After the voting was completed May 31, the consolidation coordinating committee met June 3 to consider its next steps, which include building tours and addressing parish concerns about consolidation, particularly start-up costs and tuition, said Tim Gantz, a committee member.
A final report will be made about July 10 or 11 to the 10 parish councils. Any consolidation plan that might be adopted could become effective in the 2003-04 school year.
Gantz said consolidation would address the schools' enrollment problems. While enrollment is declining in the upper grades, the schools are turning away potential kindergarteners. Kindergarten through eighth grade enrollment in 2001-02 was 1,438 at the 10 schools.
Gantz and Lee Nagel, diocesan director of Total Catholic Education, said the parish vote broke down this way:
St. Mary of the Angels, Ss. Peter and Paul and St. Philip parishes favored Model A, which called for the creation of five elementary schools and two middle schools. Model B called for setting up four elementary schools, one middle school and two kindergarten through eighth grade schools.
St. John the Evangelist, St. Francis Xavier and Holy Martyrs of Gorcum Parishes voted for consolidation without specifying a model preference.
St. Matthew Parish voted against both models but said it favored unification.
Holy Cross, Resurrection and St. Bernard Parishes voted to remain independent, but "at least wanted to maintain communications," Nagel said.
Gantz said Holy Cross pastoral council's vote, 6 to 5, was "split almost down the middle." Seven parishes -- 7½ if Holy Cross is counted in -- "by their response, indicated they were in favor of looking at pursuing consolidation."