St. Joseph's Catholic School in Las Vegas announces closure
By Molly Waldron. CREATED May 28, 2013
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- The students at St. Joseph's Catholic School are part of a heritage that goes back 65 years when the oldest Catholic school in Las Vegas was established in 1948.
"I can come here walk in and visit sometimes and still see the same grounds I saw as a little kid," alum Theresa Ware said. She stopped by the school Tuesday to take photos of childhood memories after hearing the school would shut its doors June 7th.
"The bills have to be paid and the money isn't there to do it anymore," Father Dave Casaleggio said.
Casaleggio took over the school two years ago and said the school would need to double in size to stay open and cover a $350,000 shortfall.
"All of the finances in terms of how deep in the hole we were was top secret," parent and substitute teacher, Syble Harris, said.
Harris and the other parents found out in an email before Memorial Day weekend that the school was shutting down. Parents said they were never consulted about the plan and question how the tuition money from roughly 130 students was spent.
"They never asked the parents or teachers for our ideas to brainstorm how to increase enrollment," Harris said. "We did fundraisers - where did the money go?"
Parents are angry that the news came so suddenly and with just two weeks notice before the school year ends, teachers are out of jobs and students are scrambling to find a spot at other Catholic schools.
"I have two daughters graduated and it was all they knew and they won't have the experience," Harris said through tears.
"I'm just broken hearted that it had to go and this was such a big part of my families life," Ware said.
In a letter to parents St. Joseph's administration said tuition for the 2013-2014 school year would be refunded within 30 days.
Area Catholic schools are willing to take St. Joseph's students but parents said it's not that easy. In a meeting Tuesday morning parents said neighboring schools like St. Anne only had about 13 available spots for students.