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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.

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?"

dave green June 21, 2011 at 02:38 PM
So Mt. Carmel HS/GS is finally joining St. Patrick HS/GS in the history books. As a member of the next to last graduating class from St. Pat's in '67, I appreciate the empty feeling that the Mt. Carmel family must be feeling. The Coment/Irish rivalry produced some great football games back in the day...at least for St. Patrick's :) I grew up one block from Mt. Carmel and attended St. Pat's from 1st through 12th grade. Great memories.
Cecilia Brown June 22, 2011 at 05:18 PM
How sad...shame on the Archdiocese of Detroit for how they handled this. Poor immigrants built the parish and school because of the importance of God and Church first in their lives. The parish and school have been sustained through many difficult years...after a depression, world war, many economic downturns, etc. Too bad all solutions presented were unacknowledged and ignored...of course because everything always comes down to the almighty dollar instead of respect for God Almighty Himself. Shame on the Archdiocesan "powers that be" who plodded on and ignored ANY viable solution to keep the school open...all because of their poorly invested hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on a cultural center in Washington D.C. which failed. As usual it comes down to the people in the pews who suffer, not to mention the kids. Good stewards of the people's treasure? I think not. Hope the higher ups have their answers ready on Judgment Day.
R. Hickey June 23, 2011 at 01:05 PM
Lets not forget about all the Hebda Cup and championships the M.C. rowing crew won over the years.... fond memories of bringing the trophy home to a happy Fr. Redwick.....this school will be missed. R. Hickey Class of 92'
J Fred June 28, 2011 at 04:08 PM
The real reason Our Lady of Mount Carmel schools closed is the fact the children and grandchildren of these "poor immigrants" did not feel it was there obligation to send thier children to a Catholic school much less Mount Carmel. 40 years ago the highschool had 400 students. Many large families sent every one of there children to the school and the economy was no better. Yet when those students became parents they CHOSE to send thier children to public schools. Why did it change over 1 generation?
J Swift June 30, 2011 at 09:17 PM
It's not even about the children and grandchildren of the immigrants. Every community has those that move out and move on to different places or choose a public school because of the options available. The rising costs of Catholic education boils down to many of these children and grandchildren not sending their kids to a Catholic school. Up until the mid-70's, Catholic education was far more affordable because of classes being taught by those with religious vocations. This of course, kept tuition down and assured higher attendance with reasonable cost. Today, teachers have to be paid more (since they are not of the religious vocation) and the overhead to run a functioning school that is up to date and competitive with the public alternative is expensive. When it comes to dollars and cents, a middle class family from Wyandotte is going to choose the public alternative. There are ways to make the schools more competitive without pressing the attendees. But disingenuous leadership at the top has prevented this from happening. The continued mismanagement by the hierarchy of the Archdiocese is inexcusable. Their corruption not only with the payment of lawyers to hush scandals, but also with the botched investment in D.C. underscores their inability to appropriately finance their catechesis.
J Swift June 30, 2011 at 09:18 PM
(cont.) Instead, they trample on tradition, forcefully close schools with little notice, and do very little to help out the parishes they are supposed to be assisting. It is also known in many circles that the so called "shepherds of the faith" in the AOD will bully, humiliate, and intimidate anyone who does not agree with their vision of what is correct. These bullies continue to run the diocese and parishes into the ground with ridiculous monetary decision. And who pays? The people and their local community. Not the men at the top. It's a sick joke that the blame has often been placed on the school. The finger should be pointed at the miscreants running the Archdiocese. There will come a point where consolidation is no longer the answer. Perhaps it will be the lack of cash flow that will finally shake the lack of accountability given by the so called "leaders" of the Archdiocese of Detroit. At that point, they will have no one else to blame but themselves.
J Fred July 06, 2011 at 02:38 AM
Gabriel Richards tuition is much higher and they still fill the seats. In the past Divine Child in Dearborn had waiting list. The Archdiocese is not a democracy so I doubt there will be change at the top.

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