Dogtown businesses back parents bid to keep catholic school in the neighborhood

Businesses are joining the fight to keep St. James the Greater school open in St. Louis' Dogtown neighborhood.

As the St. Louis Catholic Archdiocese prepares to hold three community meetings at three of their south St. Louis parish schools, businesses owners near one of them are throwing their support behind angry parents who don’t want to see their school close.

The archdiocese has received a recommendation to consolidate three parish schools into one.

The move would call for the closure of St. James the Greater pre-K through 8th Grade school in the Dogwood neighborhood.

Right now the school has 132 children enrolled, but at one time more than 800 students roamed its halls.

Parents and staff say the rooms at St. James are large enough to handle the consolidation at their location.

That solution only transfers one set of parent’s difficulties to another school's, as a big bone of contention is the busy street parents would be forced to deal with if they are forced to drive their children to another school.

That same busy street would be a problem for the parents of the Joan of Arc school where the consolidation is recommended to occur.

Parents and business owners just want the archdiocese to leave them alone, and let the school remain open.

Businesses blocks from the school say, losing the school would be a blow to the neighborhood and that would trickle down to harm their businesses.

While the financial security of their business is something to consider, most business owners say they are supporting the residents' desire to see the school stay open because the residents support them.

The archdiocese says no official decision has been made, and the merger is still in the recommendation stage.
They would like to hear what the parishioners have to say first.

Parishioners, and parents of students at St. James the Greater blame a new priest and school administrator for pushing for the closure and that it does not reflect what they want.

Several have also pledged not to send their children to the recommended school if the merger goes through.

© 2017 KSDK-TV


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