Catholic school closures get mixed reaction

A decision to close two Catholic schools in Calgary is getting mixed reviews.

A decision to close two Catholic schools in Calgary is getting mixed reviews.

Trustees on the Catholic School Board voted Wednesday to shut down Holy Redeemer Elementary School in Forest Lawn and St. John Fine Arts School in northwest Calgary after this academic year.

"If they can guarantee I can get the same program and the same teachers, same feel for the school the last three years, I would be happy. But I don't think that's going to happen," said St. John parent Carla Killan. 

Moving students out of the historic school in Hillhurst is necessary, said principal Cheryl McInnes.

"I mean, it’s a beautiful exterior building but it’s not really appropriate as a learning facility," she said.

"A new facility would make much more sense for technology but also for opening the doors to all children with all needs."

St. John’s 153 students will be transferred to St. Dominic School in Dalhousie.

"I actually don't have an issue with it because my son and I live in Dalhousie," said parent Miffy Baker.

Students in the English program at Holy Redeemer will be re-directed to one of three schools: Holy Trinity, Holy Family or St. Peter, all in the southeast.

Holy Redeemer’s French immersion students will be transferred to St. Rose of Lima Jr. High School in northeast Calgary.

The decision to close the two schools will help the board in its dealings with the province, said superintendant Craig Foley.

"It’s very difficult for the government to justify giving us more schools when we've got empty spaces," he said.