St. Saviour

New Petition is Delivered to Father Murphy

In 1 on July 28, 2009 at 11:04 am

St. Saviour Church 7/19

Below is the text of the most recent petition hand delivered to Father Murphy regarding his erratic decision to fire Principal James Flanagan from St. Saviour Elementary School. The Petition was signed by over 100 Parents and Parishioners.

July 11, 2009

To: Father Murphy,

The undersigned parishioners are reaching out to you with concern over the fractioning of our parish and the future of our school.
Our goal is to facilitate healing and strengthening of our parish and our school by adhering to the published goals of transparency and parental involvement stated in Bishop DiMarzio’s “Preserving the Vision” mission.

As a starting point, we want to set forth items that we believe:
• St. Saviour’s Elementary (“SSES”) has been, and is currently, the most successful Catholic school in Brooklyn West 10, with 405 students enrolled;
• SSES just had its best year in standardized testing;
• The school’s financial viability has occurred as a result of parental and school organized fundraising, and without financial support from the parish;
• The success of the school is based in large part on the efforts of its principal, James Flanagan;
• The proposed non-renewal of Jim Flanagan’s contract is likely to result in a financial settlement or litigation, which in and of itself can be costly;
• You have refused to meet 103 parents who attended a meeting to discuss our future in late May 2009, and in general have failed to respond to many inquiries about this decision;
• Including the Friends of St. Saviour funds, SSES had an unrestricted cash balance of approximately $200,000 at the time when you removed James Flanagan from the principal position;
• The lack of parental involvement and transparency in the decision to remove Mr. Flanagan is contrary to the Bishop’s “Preserving the Vision” message;
In the event that you disagree with or have documentation contrary to the above, we ask that you share it with us. It is our opinion that the failure to share information and the refusal to address parents created much of the current conflict and, as stated above, it is our desire to have peace and harmony in our parish and a successful school.

Given the above, it is our request that you provide us with the following items in order to comply with the stated goals of the “Preserving the Vision” mission:
• An accounting of all school finances of July 1, 2009;
• A listing of all applicants who applied for the SSES principal opening;
• A listing of all publications advertising the position of SSES principal, and a statement regarding how long each advertisement ran;
• A statement as to the amount of money reserved for Mr. Flanagan’s settlement, including which organization, either the Diocese, parish or school is expected to pay it.
• Whether the parish or school has any insurance for employment related litigation;
• All minutes and recordings of meetings of the parish council reflecting the parish council’s and Maura Lorenzen’s opinions of SSES, the job performance of James Flanagan, the possibilility of turning the school into a charter school or in any other way renting the school building, and raising tuition for the 24 months prior to Mr. Flanagan’s dismissal
• A detailed explanation of the measures taken, if any, to avoid a conflict of interest on the part of Ms. Lorenzen in interviewing for a principal position while commenting on the performance and functions the school and its existing principal as part of the parish council;
• An explanation as to why no SSES teachers were interviewed for the position of principal;
• Any and all information regarding what independent body, if any, is going to be charged with looking after the school’s interest in the future;

We ask that you either respond in writing or schedule a meeting with the parents.
We hope that you will be willing to work with us to achieve the healing that can only occur when open, honest communication facilitates a trusting relationship.
Sincerely,

The Parents and Parishioners of St. Saviour

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