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Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School Will Close

An online petition has been started to appeal to the Arch Bishop, and parents are beginning plans to open a new school in the Lake Minnetonka area in time for the 2012-13 school year.

Editor's note: This post has been edited to reflect that the decision to close Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School was made by the parish, not the Archdiocese as the original post suggested. Lake Minnetonka Patch apologizes for the confusion and will have an update to this story Tuesday morning.

Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School will close after this year.

Melissa Pickert is a member of the Our Lady of the Lake congregation, and her children attended the school until last year—when the family decided to home school their kids. The Pickerts remain active members of the Our Lady of the Lake parish and have been closely monitoring developments.

"To say the parents are fired up is an understatement," Pickert said. "I was not surprised by the announcement, I was more surprised at how the parish administration handled everything."

Pickert was referring to a letter sent out in December by Father Tim Dolan (attached to this post), which assured the school would remain open. The letter outlined a plan to replace the current principal, who had announced her retirement, and assured parents that Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School would be around for "many years to come."

An emergency meeting, attended by about 100 people, was called last week to discuss the school closing and to construct a plan on how to best move forward. A decision was made to begin the process of opening a new school in the Lake Minnetonka area in time for the 2012-13 school year and naming it the Lake Minnetonka Academy.

Members of the parish and other community members involved with the new school's formation created a Facebook page last week in an effort to keep parents and the community informed on their progress.

"We have received three letters from the parent group about what they are planning—as well as talked to our friends that have kids that go to the school," Pickert said.

In addition, an online petition has been started asking Arch Bishop Nienstedt to reconsider the decision to close Our Lady of Lake Catholic School. The petition, submitted Jan. 17 by Mike Reier, is based on concerns about the "process that was utilized within the sustainability study, the methodology of determination regarding the viability of the school, the failure to consider other business options or business models and the fact that those of us on Parish Counsel and School Advisory Committee were not even consulted or advised of any pending decision."

Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School has struggled with student enrollment in recent years, and in 2010 was chosen by the diocese to undergo a sustainability review.

A sustainability study was completed in 2011.

Lake Minnetonka Patch will have additional updates to this story as it continues to develop and further details are confirmed.

Chris Johnson January 21, 2013 at 04:48 PM
As a long time members of Our Lady of the Lake school and parish, we were told the school would remain open in a December letter to parents. the decision to close the school was made abruptly and did not include parents and or parish members. Chris and Steve Johnson
Peter King January 22, 2013 at 01:02 PM
What I just don't understand is why they felt that parents shouldn't be told first. Many of us found out after our kids were already at school and we did not have the chance to tell our own children. Rather, Father Tim forced the teachers to break the children's hearts. Meanwhile, he was unavailable to the kids as they cried and wanted to know why. This never should have happened.

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