The archbishop of San Francisco has agreed to reconsider his decision to close St. Rita School in Fairfax.

The archbishop of San Francisco has agreed to reconsider his decision to close St. Rita School in Fairfax. After a meeting with the Rev. Ken Weare, pastor of St. Rita Church, on Thursday Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said he would ask his finance council to re-evaluate a proposal submitted by Weare and St. Rita School Principal John Black to keep the school open at least one more year. Cordileone set no deadline for completing the reappraisal. In an email sent to parents of students at the school and other community supporters, Weare said he presented the archbishop with more than 400 signatures from parishioners and school families. Weare said he also presented a letter from the original donor of the school’s $150,000 scholarship endowment granting the school access to the principal amount of the endowment. Previously, the school was restricted to use only the interest earned to provide scholarships. Black and Weare have proposed using the endowment as collateral to secure a loan from the archdiocese if declining enrollment were to cause a shortfall next year. Black and Weare presented a plan to the archdiocese in January that would have balanced the school’s budget next year by raising tuition from $8,500 per year to $9,500 a year and boosting fundraising from $150,000 per year to $220,000. The school, which has 110 students, has been running a deficit for years, mainly due to declining enrollment. This year the deficit will amount to $200,000, Black said. In addition, about a third of the students receive financial aid; St. Rita parishioners donate close to $75,000 a year to cover that cost. Black has said that should the archbishop stick with his decision to close the school, he and the faculty would attempt to operate St. Rita as an independent school using the International Baccalaureate program. Under that plan, the cost of tuition would rise to $13,000 a year. “The foundation of the new school would have to be the families who are currently at St. Rita who would be willing to pay a higher tuition level,” Black said. “The longer this process of evaluation continues then the less likely it is we can convince the St. Rita families to sign up for the independent school.” Black said one reason the tuition would need to increase is that the school would have to begin paying the archdiocese rent. Black said it would be Weare’s decision whether to rent the facilities to the school, but the archdiocese would set the amount of rent. Black estimates the monthly rent would be $15,000, based on the school’s location and size. The archbishop initially announced plans to close St. Rita School at the end of the 2013 school year, but school families and parishioners raised nearly $700,000 to cover the school’s deficit spending and convinced Cordileone to keep the school open for at least two more years. Much of the money raised during that period came from two anonymous donors; one donated $250,000, the other $200,000. By the end of this school year, the $700,000 will have been spent. David N. Swaim Tam Realty Inc Owner DRE#1070789 415-710-5504 609 San Anselmo Ave San Anselmo CA 94960 www.tamrealty.com Serving all of Marin County

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *