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Catholic school parents see only turmoil in Flanagan’s wake

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Parents at a Park Slope Catholic school are praying that they can save a beloved principal whose career is on the line.

Families from St. Saviour Elementary School are protesting Rev. Daniel Murphy’s decision to not renew the contract of Principal James Flanagan — a popular administrator who has been in charge of the well-regarded school for 25 years.

“We’re the ones who support Catholic education, but we’re the ones being rolled over,” said Cathy Hunt, a mother of two, who has helped organize marches in front of the Eighth Avenue school and at the Brooklyn diocese headquarters in Fort Greene. “You don’t just pull out the leadership when a school is so successful.”

Hunt claims that Murphy has left families with little time to find alternative schools if they disagree with his decision.

“We’ve already put our money down and enrolled our kids — now there’s nothing we can do,” added Hunt.

Supporters of the principal claim the administrator and Murphy weren’t singing from the same hymn book on a number of issues, including a proposed tuition hike at the 104-year-old school that Flanagan opposed.

But Murphy claims parents shouldn’t fret about his decision to let Flanagan go.

“It’s a decision that I’ve made that, as we go into the future, we will move forward with different leadership,” said Murphy.

“Some parents have great fears, but I think they are unfounded. I would really want them to be at peace,” said Murphy, who said parents will likely receive more information about Flanagan’s successor by early July. “The school is going to remain strong. There is a change in the principal, but that’s the only change.”

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Reader Feedback

John from Park Slope says:
The lack of truthfulness in this unfortunate situation is so troubling. Yesterday, Father Murphy was quoted in the Brooklyn Eagle stating that the decision to not renew Mr. Flanagan's contract was to implement Bishop DiMarzio’s plan. Today, Father Murphy states that it was his decision. Perhaps Bishop DiMarzio did not appreciate being thrown under the bus and spoke with Father Murphy today. Further, although parents have been repeatedly assured by a superior member of the Diocese of Brooklyn that the a board would be set up to elect a new Principal, which would be comprised of at least one parent of the school, other parishioners with qualified educational backgrounds and members of the Parish Council, Father Murphy now states the parents will receive information about their new principal in July. It is evident that this principal will be someone selected solely by Father Murphy without any imput from concerned parents or the promised board. Apparently, as Father Murphy himself stated on Channel 12 news, the parents of Saint Saviour's have no say on what happens at their school. At least there is some truth in Father Murphy's words.
June 4, 2009, 1:57 pm
Jed from Bay Ridge says:
John said -- 'the parents of Saint Saviour's have no say on what happens at their school.'

Well, that's a known bottom-line issue with all parochial schools, regardless of religion.
June 5, 2009, 1:13 am
John from Park Slope says:
Rumor has it that the Church(Bishop DiMarzio) can make more money from the Sale of Property in the middle of Park Slope than helping educate the minds of our young.

Isn't the Catholic Church Rich enough?
June 8, 2009, 1:35 am
Jane from Park Slope says:
“Some parents have great fears, but I think they are unfounded. I would really want them to be at peace,” said Murphy, who said parents will likely receive more information about Flanagan’s successor by early July. “The school is going to remain strong. There is a change in the principal, but that’s the only change.”

My son has attended Saint Saviour for the last 6 years, while reading this article he mentions to himself aloud, "How would he know, he's never set foot in St. Saviour elementary!"

Out of the mouths of babes (oft times come gems).

Is this the type of man, we want running our schools?
June 8, 2009, 1:45 am
angelo from so bklyn says:
John from Park Slope says: "Isn't the Catholic Church Rich enough?"
I think declining Cath.-school popularity plus molester lawsuits have taken a toll.
But you'll notice that bishops and cardinals still live well no matter what hits the fan: Their on-the-books salary is negligible pocket money, 'cause everything is paid for via the "church" budget: housing, food, utilities, cooks, cleaning and personal staff, fancy-dress wardrobe, travel, you name it. (It's kinda like: Al Sharpton can claim he has no personal $ - b/c everything is paid for by a nonprofit that exists to take care of him.)
June 8, 2009, 3:58 pm

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