Concerned parents discuss future of Catholic schools in Capital Region

WYNANTSKILL, N.Y. (NEWS10) – After the fight to save one Catholic school came up short, local parents are banding together to ensure the same fate doesn’t happen to others.

Parents met at St. Jude The Apostle Catholic School in Wynantskill on Wednesday. They want to bring grades 7 and 8 to Catholic elementary schools. But they claim they’ve been met with little cooperation.

Teri Kippen has two children that attend Sacred Heart School in Troy.

“It’s a school that reaches out to children of all types, and it really embraces diversity,” she said.

Kippen’s oldest son is on the autism spectrum. She said the school is a perfect place for him. But soon, she’ll have to make a tough choice.

Sacred Heart, like St. Jude’s, doesn’t offer seventh and eighth grade classes. Now, she’ll have to find another option.

“We are concerned,” she said.

Kippen can either send her son to Catholic High School in Troy or to another elementary school that offers the right classes in a different town. Neither option is ideal, and she isn’t alone in that belief.

“The overwhelming consensus was that many parents wanted seventh and eighth grades to go back into the elementary school setting,” she said.

Felice Magnetto’s daughter also attends Sacred Heart. She said parents don’t understand why their voices are not being heard.

“Some of them just feel hopeless,” she said. “Like they don’t want to get involved. They just see it as a shut door.”

Instead, families have moved their children to other schools, which forced St. Augustine’s School to close its doors. Parents want to avoid that from happening with other schools.

They said multiple attempts to discuss the matter with Bishop Edward Scharfenberger have come up short.

“He seemed to have a real interest and concern, and he was listening,” Kippen said. “And then all of a sudden, everything stopped.”

Now families are left fighting for answers.

“Every family has a story,” Kippen said. “And we all have reasons for wanting to push this.”

NEWS10 ABC reached out to Bishop Scharfenberger but did not receive a response. Meanwhile, parents conducted a survey that showed 65 percent of parents would prefer to have seventh and eighth grade classes back in Catholic elementary schools.

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