By Pat Warren

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Baltimore archdiocese looks forward to a better year this year for its students and staff.  It’s been 10 months since it announced the closing of 13 Catholic schools.

Pat Warren reports restructuring plans are in the works.

Catholic school students protested the closing of 13 schools last year.  Archbishop Edwin O’Brien’s explanations to kids and parents felt short of soothing.

“These are the kids crying because they can’t get in,” said one student, who drew a picture to express his sadness at his school closing.

“It’s a shame,” said another.

Thirteen of the 64 Catholic schools closed, affecting 325 faculty and staff members and more than 2,100 students.  Out of the ashes of the last year, the archdiocese of Baltimore plans to build a better system.

“There are no surprises and I don’t expect any surprises in the near future.  We are where we should be and I’m very proud of that,” O’Brien said.

For the first time, the archdiocese will use a school board to oversee implementation of some 50 recommendations for the schools, including CBS Network correspondent Byron Pitts, a Baltimore Catholic school graduate.

“I know the value of this kind of education helped shape my life,” Pitts said.

Just as important as the board’s role, according to O’Brien, is the role of the parents and school communities.

Factors that led to last year’s closing included enrollment, proximity to other schools and the condition of the buildings.  Confident that the weaknesses have been addressed, the diocese moves on to its strengths.

The new archdiocesan school board will monitor, oversee and advise on finances, facilities and leadership in the schools.


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