400 are losing jobs with archdiocese.

By Tim Townsend
Four hundred employees of the St. Louis Archdiocese - teachers, maintenance and janitorial workers, bookkeepers, clerical workers, nurses, groundskeepers and cafeteria workers - will lose their jobs as a result of the 21 parishes and eight schools closing in north St. Louis County and south St. Louis.
Archdiocesan spokesman Jamie Allman said half of those affected are parish employees; the others for the parish school system. 7

Those employed by parish schools will be invited to apply for positions at other archdiocesan schools in the consolidated system. But Allman added, "At this point we don't know how many openings there will be."

Mary Chubb, president of the Association of Catholic Elementary Teachers, said that the archdiocese had laid off 120 teachers last year and that only about half had found new positions. If teachers who still have not found jobs after last year's layoffs are still looking, she said, "that means about 250 to 260 teachers will be reapplying for jobs within the archdiocese's school system, and the reality of it is that there simply will not be that many positions open."

Those employed by parishes that are closing, but not affiliated with the parish school system, will be offered compensation, according to the archdiocese.
"We are working to put together a generous severance package for those who will not be reapplying," said Allman.

He said teachers or other school employees who choose not to apply for jobs within the archdiocese also would be offered severance.

The news was announced Monday by the Missouri Department of Economic Development, which the archdiocese has invited to run free training and re-employment workshops for anyone affected by the parish closings and who wants help in finding a new job. The Association of Catholic Elementary Teachers will be holding similar workshops for teachers and principals, also run by the Department of Economic Development, said Chubb.

Allman said notices about the layoffs were sent Friday to the parishes affected by the closings.

In south St. Louis, St. Mary Magdalen is being swallowed by Our Lady of Sorrows. Susan Wells-Souza, the music teacher at St. Mary Magdalen, said all the employees at her school and at Our Lady of Sorrows will lose their jobs and have been asked to reapply for the new positions created by the merger. She said those interviews are beginning this week.

"A lot of people aren't really very nervous," she said. "There's a lot of cooperation and no hard feelings." 

Reporter Tim Townsend
Email: ttownsend@post-dispatch.com
Phone: 314-340-8221

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