20 Aug 2014
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Our Lady of Mount Carmel High School Is Closing

The Wyandotte school will not reopen in the fall, nor will two Catholic elementary schools in the city.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel High School Is Closing

This year’s graduating class at will be the last as the Wyandotte school is closing its doors along with two Catholic elementary schools in the city.

Two high school teachers have confirmed to Wyandotte Patch that they were told weeks ago that the school would not be reopening in the fall, but were advised not to talk publicly about it.

The teachers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said they were told parents of enrolled students would be notified by a letter in the mail.

Joe Kohn, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Detroit, said he's heard rumors that a letter was being sent to parents, but has yet to see it.

"Right now, I can't confirm a closure," he said. "To me, they are just rumors at this time. I have heard of said letter, but have not seen it."

In order for a school to close, Kohn said, a pastor must write a letter requesting that the school be closed. At that time, Kohn said, the Archdiocese decides what action to take.

Kohn said no action has officially been taken at Mount Carmel. He said he could not confirm or deny whether a request to close the school has been submitted as those announcements are not made public until a final decision has been reached.

Neither school principal Timothy Scanlon nor the Rev. Walter Ptak could be reached for comment.

The high school was thought to be safe as a three-school merger was announced in February and did not include the high school.

That merger includes the closure of two Wyandotte schools– and –and Christ the Good Shepherd School in Lincoln Park.

The three schools will be consolidated into John Paul II Catholic School, which will open in August on the campus of Christ the Good Shepherd Parish in Lincoln Park.

The merger, which has been discussed for years, was precipitated by declining enrollment in Catholic elementary schools over the last several years, Kohn said.

Enrollment at the three schools has fallen by 36 percent since 2005, he said. The current combined enrollment is 326 (135 at Christ the Good Shepherd, 103 at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Elementary and 88 at Wyandotte Catholic Consolidated).

All three schools, which are within a two-mile radius, have been operating at a deficit, requiring subsidies from their sponsoring parish communities, Kohn said.

The three schools combined have to pull between $600,000 and $700,000 from their sponsoring parishes each year just to operate, Kohn said.

The high school reportedly had an estimated enrollment of fewer than 40 for the 2011-12 school year.

Laura Taraszkiewicz, the school’s parent teacher group president, said it's common knowledge around Mount Carmel that the high school was going to close.

"Father (Ptak) said that once the grade school closed, the high school would probably follow," she said. "Once they cut out the grade school portion of it, what did they think was going to happen?"

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