Petition to save John Bosco Academy garners 1,000 signatures
St. John Bosco Academy is scheduled to close its doors in June, but at least one alumnus is not going to let it happen without a fight.
Joseph Rogers, a 2010 graduate of the school, has started a petition to “save our neighborhood Catholic school” that now has almost 1,000 signatures. Rogers said it’s only Catholic elementary school left in Pittsburgh’s South Hills neighborhoods.
The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh announced on Feb. 23 that Saint John Bosco Academy is closing. Rogers said he and other parishioners learned of the decision at that evening’s mass at Our Lady of Loreto Church, one of five parishes in the Brookline/Beechview grouping that sponsors the school.
“It was the first time any of us knew the school was in danger,” said Rogers. “The point of this campaign is to ask the diocese to rescind their decision and let the school be open for another year so we can fund raise and be a part of the reorganization of schools.”
Rogers says he is upset by what he calls a lack of transparency on the part of the diocese.
“We want answers from Father (James) Bachner, our administrator, and Bishop Zubik, on why we were not told the school was in financial trouble, why the parishioners did not have a say, why he waited until late February to tell teachers and students that they will be out of jobs and a school,” said Rogers.
The school, formerly known as Brookline Regional Catholic School, was re-structured as Saint John Bosco Academy in 2014.
Bishop David Zubik issued a canonical decree to reestablish the school under a new name with a new governance structure.
“This is part of our continuing effort to ensure that Catholic education remains strong and vibrant in the Diocese of Pittsburgh,” Zubik said at the time.
Father Nick Vaskov, a spokesperson for the diocese, acknowledged that it’s difficult for everyone involved when a school closes.
“Anytime you announce a school closing, something that affects the life of a child, it’s going to be a challenge for people. These decisions aren’t made lightly,” he said.
Paul Guggenheimer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at 724-226-7706 or [email protected].