Another Saginaw Diocese Catholic School Closes 6-14-2010 - WNEM TV 5

Another Saginaw Diocese Catholic School Closes 6-14-2010

Just months after two other area Catholic schools closed their doors, a third is also shuttering after more than 100 years in the teaching business.
Following the recommendation of the local pastor, task force and parish council, the Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw, announced his decision to close Our Lady of Perpetual Help School in Chesaning at the conclusion of the 2009-10 academic year.
The recommendation and approval came following a special June 4 meeting of the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish Council, which found the school was not able to meet benchmarks set forth by a special task force to remain open.
“Closing a school is never easy and never something you want to do,” said the Rev. Richard Bokinskie, who has served as pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish since 2004. “I can assure all of our families of the commitment of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish to continue to educate and form our children in the Catholic faith.”
Bokinskie said Our Lady of Perpetual Help School’s more than 100 years of dedication to Catholic education will live on through dynamic faith formation opportunities offered through the parish. The school opened its doors to students in 1906.
“We’re proud of our teachers, students, families and parishioners and the commitment they made to our Catholic school. Unfortunately, the reality of the economic challenges facing our area has led to dwindling enrollment and we can no longer afford to keep our school open,” Bokinskie said.
In the fall of 2009, a special task force was created from within the school to examine its viability.
In February, the task force recommended the school would need a minimum of 35 students enrolled for fall 2010-11 and $100,000 in the bank by June 1, to keep the school open.
The community raised nearly $64,000 and enrolled 14 students in grades K-4. The school said Monday the money raised to keep the school open will be returned.
The last day of the school year for students of Our Lady of Perpetual Help School was Thursday, June 10.
The school said plans will be made to hold a farewell gathering for teachers, current and former students, families and parishioners in the Chesaning community.
Earlier this year, St. Peter and Paul, as well as St. Helen’s schools announced they would close for good due to low student enrollment.
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