Future uncertain for three South St.Louis Catholic grade schools after Archdiocesan recommendations

ST. LOUIS (KPLR) - The future is unclear for three Catholic grade schools in South St. Louis. The uncertainty comes after a series of weekend meetings where school closures were presented in a plan the Archdiocese believes could create a renaissance of Catholic education in St. Louis.

If you're the kind of person who believes no news is good news, the sign outside St. James the Greater Catholic School in Dogtown may have been a sign bad news was coming.

"Yes. It was definitely a shock." said Rebecca Wilderson, St. James School Board President and parent of two.

The shock came Sunday during special meetings at St. James, Our Lady of Sorrows and St. Joan of Arc. In each meeting, the Archdiocesan School Oversight Committee made three recommendations.  One of those recommendations is getting all the attention.

"What we're proposing in this recommendation is a brand-new school. A totally brand-new school and this is something totally exciting to me." said Maureen DePriest, Associate Superintendent for Elementary School Administration.

St. James parent and school board president Rebecca Wilderson isn't so enthused.

"I feel like there's been a death. We're in the grieving process now and we're going through the whole range of emotions that would be expected."  added Wilderson.

Those morbid metaphors result from the roles the three schools would play in the formation of this newly proposed South City school.

Under the current plan, St. James and Our Lady of Sorrows would close at the end of this school year. Next year, the three schools would form a new school under a new name on St. Joan of Arc's property.

"Being centrally located, in a highly visible area, we felt that we would have the greatest reach from that point outward to capture the enrollment." added DePriest

"We are frustrated because I feel like we had no voice." added Wilderson.

Instead of answering questions in the meetings, parents say representatives from the Archdiocese told them to write down their questions. They said answers would follow in the coming weeks.

"They keep saying this is a recommendation, but we're approaching November. Tomorrow is November 1st and we can't sit around and wait for something to happen," added Wilderson.