Home Our Diocese Acting principal at Padua Academy says students will get support

Acting principal at Padua Academy says students will get support


The acting principal at Padua Academy issued a letter supporting the school and its students and said school leaders planned to work to help those reacting to the March 16 dismissal of head of school Cindy Mann.
A group of people protested the departure of Mann and gathered before Sunday Mass at St. Anthony of Padua Church on March 18 while others lashed out on social media.
The parish issued a statement March 18 outlining parish operations and Padua’s part in it, reaffirming an update provided in February by church pastor Father Nicholas Waseline and pledging to work to keep the parish and Padua Academy moving forward through the transition of leadership at the all-girls high school in Wilmington.
In a letter to Padua parents, acting principal Mary McClory said she met with faculty March 18 and said staff members plan to support students at an intended protest at the school the morning of March 19.
“(Saturday), I met with members of Padua’s administration team and then had a faculty and staff meeting (Sunday),” McCrory wrote. “We will continue in our effort to follow Padua’s mission and support our students. We know that many within our community are very upset and want to be heard. With that in mind, know that we will support our students in their planned action on Monday. We will provide a faculty presence outside to assure their safety and well-being and to be available if they wish to talk. We will also have counselors and faculty available inside the building as well.”
The March 18 statement from the parish (click HERE to read it in full) describes the lengthy history of the parish and its schools.
“Statements have been made that funds assessed from Padua Academy are supporting St. Anthony of Padua Grade School,” read the statement from the parish. “These statements are false. The annual stewardship contribution from Padua Academy is utilized by the parish for general operating purposes. St. Anthony’s Italian Festival is the primary fundraiser offering support for the parish grade school. The Diocese of Wilmington mandates that a parish subsidize the operating cost of an elementary school it operates between 15% and 35% of the school budget. The parish subsidizes 26% of the grade school operating costs, primarily via revenue raised by the Italian Festival.”
In a two-page “Pastoral Plan update” distributed at church in February, Father Waseline said a parish planning process had begun in 2013. “The objective of the process was to comprehensively evaluate all aspects of parish life/operations,” he said.
“Clearly, from the outset, recognition of change and adaptation emerged if St. Anthony of Padua Parish expected to move successfully into the years ahead.”
“The financial corollary of the fact that only 3% of Padua’s students are parishioners is that virtually no financial support from a majority of student families flows to the parish in terms of offertory contributions,” Father Waseline said in the update. “When the significant number of Padua students were parishioners, their families were regular financial contributors to the parish. With the current demographics of today’s Padua students and families in mind, the parish has determined that a ‘Stewardship Assessment’ of Padua revenue will be established to restore the offertory income no longer available to the parish and reconcile the value of the Padua campus within the parish portfolio of assets.”
Diocese of Wilmington spokesman Robert Krebs said Padua is part of the St. Anthony’s parish community and the diocese does not make personnel decisions at the parish level.
“It’s an employee-employer relationship,” he said. “St. Anthony of Padua is a separately incorporated entity. However, Padua Academy is owned by St. Anthony of Padua parish and is not a separately incorporated entity.”
“We are confident that St. Anthony of Padua and Padua Academy leadership will continue to provide students with a quality Catholic education during this time of transition and in the future.”
Padua Academy board of trustees member Pete Steiner issued a statement on behalf of the board. “The Padua Board of Trustees is very distressed by this abrupt decision,” he said in the statement. He said the board was not consulted or informed ahead of time.