May 2, 2011

St. Valentine school to close, neighboring Catholic schools ready to welcome students

KAWKAWLIN — Following the recommendation of the local parish administrator, parish council, school committee and parish and school finance committees, the Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw, today announced his acceptance of a collective recommendation to close St. Valentine School at Beaver upon the conclusion of the 2010-11 academic year.

The recommendation and approval come following a series of meetings of the school committee, parish council and finance committees, which determined the parish could no longer support the rising cost of operating the school.

In a “State of the School” address that was presented to St. Valentine parishioners and school families in February, data showed the per-pupil cost — with the current enrollment of 20 students — was more than $8,500. That cost was expected to rise as the projected enrollment for the 2011-12 school year was 13 students.

“While it is sad to close our parish school, we are thankful that our students will have the opportunity to continue their education at one of our neighboring Catholic schools,” said James Fielbrandt, who has served as principal of St. Valentine since 2002. “Our parents remain committed to Catholic education and the surrounding parishes in our community are generously supporting them.”

In a letter to St. Valentine parishioners, Bishop Cistone wrote, “I am most respectful of the 61-year legacy of St. Valentine School and grateful for the outstanding support of the school by this parish family. I hope that the parents and students currently enrolled in St. Valentine School will make every effort to continue their Catholic school education in neighboring Catholic schools which are prepared to welcome and care for them.”

St. Valentine School opened its doors in 1949 and has provided excellent Catholic education in the Beaver community for more than half a century. Plans will be made to hold a farewell gathering to give teachers, current and former students, families and parishioners an opportunity to celebrate the cherished history of St. Valentine School.

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