Tuesday, October 7, 2008

What's really happening with the Aloys School?

Since it was first announced that St. Aloysius Parish in Aloys, NE would be voting on the fate of its former school building, there has been several conflicting announcements regarding the building that have appeared in the parish bulletin. Let's follow the progression:

September 21, 2008
Aloys Parish: The families in Aloys voted to take down the old school building: 24-16. Thanks for voting. I know that this was a difficult decision.
September 28, 2008
Aloys Parish: The families in Aloys voted to take down the old school building: 24-16. Thanks for voting. I know that this was a difficult decision. There has been some discussion about re-examining the issue in light of the use of the building for the Edge Program and other things. We also found out that the insurance for the school building is $996.44 per year. Thanks for the use of the building for the Edge Program. It is a great location for them.
October 5, 2008
Aloys Parish: The building needs painting and insurance costs $1000 a year for liability insurance. It no longer has heating or water. Its only use I can remember in the last five years is one card party and an Edge Youth retreat. All the parishioners were invited to vote and they voted to tear down the building. This was a difficult decision and we respect your vote.
We went from tear it down, to maybe keep it, to tear it down again. What is actually going on here? Shortly after the vote was taken, I know that numerous letters were written in support of keeping the building for Youth Ministry purposes. I also know that a number of Aloys parishioners requested that their vote be changed in light of the building's use by the Edge and LifeTeen programs. So, why the change of tone in the announcements? I don't feel that the $1000 a year for insurance is the real issue - that comes to only $84 a month - less that what most people pay for satellite TV.

I'm convinced that the long-term sustainability of the Aloys parish rests squarely on this issue. The major fault in the entire situation is that the wrong question was being asked in the first place. The initial question should have been "What can we do with the old school?" not "Should we tear it down?" It was a hasty decision without much research.

Youth ministry purposes aside, it would be foolish to tear down this building without first examining success stories such as the
St. James Marketplace in St. James, NE. I feel that both Aloys and St. James are/were in very similar situations. Because of the creativity and drive of the individuals behind the St. James Marketplace, the area has thrived and become a local landmark as well as a regional attraction. I pray that the same will happen in Aloys.

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