The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has posted a letter to parents of Cardinal Dougherty High School students urging them to be wary of reports that investors will buy the building and operate it as an independent Catholic school beginning next September.
"We ask that you not give credence to those who would say that Cardinal Dougherty High School will stay open," said the letter, signed by Mary Rochford, the Archdiocese's superintendent of schools.
"In the unlikely event that someone purchases the building and reopens it, the school would not be sponsored by the Archdiocese, it would not be Cardinal Dougherty High School, nor would it automatically be 'Catholic,' " the letter said.
The Archdiocese announced in October that Dougherty, on 2nd Street near Godfrey Avenue, in Olney, and Northeast Catholic High School for Boys, usually known as North Catholic, on Torresdale Avenue near Erie, in Frankford, will close at the end of the school year due to declining enrollments.
Rochford's letter also advised parents against permitting "your child's education to be disrupted by missing school to attend protests."
Rochford posted the letter on Dougherty's Web site on Friday, the same day that a group of alumni, parents and students rallied outside the Archdiocese's Center City headquarters, at 17th and Race, while two alumni members presented a "letter of intent" to buy the school for $20 million.
The two alumni, Steve Schmidt, chairman of the We Are CD Foundation, and businessman Marco Ferreira, presented the letter to Archdiocese spokeswoman Donna Farrell to give to Bishop Joseph McFadden.
Yesterday, Tarsha Spencer, the mother of Dougherty junior Taniya Mitchell, said that she did not know enough about the foundation that said it would buy the school.
"We've already decided to send her elsewhere instead of waiting for a miracle to happen," Spencer said.
Spencer said that her daughter was looking at two other archdiocesan high schools.
Schmidt, a 1985 graduate of Dougherty, responded with a letter on the We Are CD Foundation Web site. He asked all 25,000 active alumni to support a new Cardinal Dougherty school by pledging at least $100 a year.
"That's $2.5 million for the school when the current operating budget is $1.5 million," he said.
He said that a private donor will put up $10 million and two banks may lend $5 million each to provide the $20 million price tag that he said McFadden had agreed to for the school. Schmidt said that he could not release the names of the investors.