Parents, teachers demand answers on school closure

Cardinal McCarrick High School will close at the end of June due to financial issues.

Cardinal McCarrick High School will close at the end of June due to financial issues. (5/23/15)

SOUTH AMBOY - Parents and teachers from Cardinal McCarrick High School are calling for answers about the Catholic school's imminent closure.

The Diocese of Metuchen announced Tuesday that the school will close its doors after this school year, saying it has only 210 registered students and lacks the $1.8 million needed to operate, plus it needs capital improvements.

The school's administrator said in a statement, "It was not just one factor that led to the decision. The accumulated weight of so many issues indicated that there was no option but to close the school."

But parents and teachers say they were left in the dark, and they feel Bishop Paul Bootkoski hasn't been forthright about the process. Today, parents and teachers gathered outside of St. Francis Assisi Cathedral, where Bishop Bootkoski was celebrating Mass, to demand answers.

"He can't ignore me," said teacher Christin Boczany, who was taught English at the school for the past eight years. "I want him to be able to look into the faces of those who he is affecting... If we were in such financial straits, why didn't anybody tell us?"

Some affected by the closure feel as though they've been deceived. Head basketball coach Ben Gamble, who just finished his first season, says he was given a different impression when he left his job as an assistant at St. Anthony's of Jersey City to join Cardinal McCarrick. "They assured me everything was fine and also the school had a strong backing of the Diocese of Metuchen," Gamble says.

Officials say the school's students will be automatically accepted next year into Bishop Ahr in Edison, a much larger school. Cardinal McCarrick's teachers, however, will be out of a job, although they have been promised help if they want to seek employment at other schools within the diocese.

Despite today's effort, parents say Bishop Bootkoski never went outside of St. Francis Cathedral to speak with those who had gathered.

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