Parents Want Answers From Oakland Diocese Over School Closures | NBC Bay Area
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Parents Want Answers From Oakland Diocese Over School Closures

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    Dozens of parents on Tuesday night called out the Oakland Catholic Diocese over the impending closure of several grade schools that will affect hundreds of students. Terry McSweeney reports. (Published Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017)

    Dozens of parents on Tuesday night called out the Oakland Catholic Diocese over the impending closure of several grade schools that will affect hundreds of students.

    Parents don't like how the decision was made and what some think may have motivated it.

    A private meeting took place at St. Lawrence O'Toole Elementary School, where a representative from the diocese tried to provide answers. But many of the parents came way still dissatisfied.

    "The way were we were told was handled in a callous manner," parent Jack viera said. "Most people found out via Twitter."

    Parents were up in arms over the closure of five K-8 schools in June. More than 600 students will be affected. The diocese plans to close St. Jerome Catholic School in El Cerrito, St. Martin de Porres School in Oakland, St. Jarlath Catholic School in Oakland, St. Lawrence O'Toole School in Oakland and Our Lady of the Rosary Church School in Union City.

    The diocese blames low enrollment, changing demographics and housing costs.

    "Families that once might've been able to include Catholic education in their budget aren't seeing it as a possibility anymore," said Helen Osmon, diocese spokeswoman.

    Tuition is about $4,000 per year. Some wonder what might have been if the schools weren't mostly minority students.

    "As a nation that's in that racial divide you don't expect to be mistreated in a church setting," parent Courtney Johnson said. "It feels like there's a disconnect."

    The diocese says it has other schools in Oakland and vows to continue to provide financial assistance for parents who need it.

    "We certainly hope they are able to find another place in one of the other seven schools serving urban areas in the diocese," Osmon said.

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